Obama Lobbies Public on Taxing Rich

As negotiators work behind the scenes in Washington, President Obama is lobbying the public this week to build support for his argument that Congress must raise taxes on the richest Americans as part of any deal to avoid the looming fiscal cliff.

Obama will meet small-business owners on Tuesday, and on Wednesday he will meet with middle-class Americans and business leaders in separate events, the White House said. During debt ceiling negotiations last year, Obama held similar events.

The president then goes to Pennsylvania on Friday where he will use a speech at a manufacturing plan to call again for higher tax rates on the wealthiest.

"We need to continue to engage the public, because that's what this is about," White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday. "And I think that some of the lessons that we learned over the last four years have to do with always being mindful of the fact that engaging the public on these sometimes chewy policy debates is important because they care and they have a deep stake in the outcome of the debates. So we'll continue to do that."

The White House has not announced any meetings between the president and congressional leaders for this week, though Obama called both Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this weekend to push for further discussions.