WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama will on Wednesday seek to wrest control of Washington's fevered debate over the economy and bulging deficit, sure to be a dominant theme of his 2012 reelection bid.
The White House says the president will lay out his vision for constraining the fiscal gap, as fresh political battles over spending escalate less than a week after the dramatic climax to a 2011 budget fight.
Advance details of Obama's speech are at the capital's George Washington University are sketchy.
But aides hint at some reform of costly health programs like Medicare for the elderly, tax hikes for the wealthy and a trimming of the trillions spent on the military -- all recipes for pitched political conflict.
Cuts will be with a "scalpel and not a machete," they say, seeking to safeguard Obama's core aspirations for education and energy reform, and portraying the slashing approach of conservative Republicans as extreme.