Warner Defends Obama's Event in Pa.

Mark Warner, D-Va., speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, after the Senate voted to pass debt legislation. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., defended a campaign-style event President Obama held this week on the fiscal cliff, saying it was important for Americans outside of Washington to remain in the conversation.

While Republicans attacked the president for "campaigning" during important negotiations, Warner said that folks outside of Washington deserved to hear the president's plan directly.

"It's also incumbent on the president to realize that this is a conversation that he has to have not just with Washington but the rest of the country," Warner said on CNN's State of the Union. "Bringing in business leaders, small business leaders, going out across the country."

The president spoke at a toy factory, pushing for a Senate-passed bill that would extend Bush-era tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans. On Tuesday, even before the event took place, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., criticized Obama for the trip.

"We already know the president's a very good campaigner," McConnell said. "We congratulate him on his re-election. What we don't know is if he has the leadership qualities to lead his party to a bipartisan agreement on big issues. The people he needs to be talking to are members of his own party so he can convince them of the need to act."