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Missouri Senator: Obama Must Take First Step on Entitlement Reform

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says he believes when it comes to budget cuts, and specifically entitlements such as Social Security, President Obama has to take the first step.

"Look, you've got the biggest microphone," Blunt said of President Obama.  "You've got the biggest podium but we're ready to sign on before you go public."

In an interview with ABC News, Blunt made it clear that if the president isn't willing to "go there" -- "there" being entitlement reform -- the Republicans probably won't either.

"They've got to get serious and we got to get serious," Blunt told ABC News, while riding the underground subway inside the U.S. Capitol.  "It is foolish for us to go out there and get a bunch of Democrats saying there's no Social Security problem or there's no Medicare problem or no Medicaid problem."

He added, "I don't think we get a result if we do it on our own."

Blunt, who served in the House of Representatives for fourteen years before being elected to the U.S. Senate last year, criticized the President for ignoring the recommendations of his own Deficit Reduction Commission.

"He's the guy who appointed the Deficit Reduction Commission. Nobody made him do that," Blunt said. "He appointed the commission and a substantial majority of it wasn't even mentioned in State of the Union."

Recalling a lesson from his time in House when the Republicans last attempted entitlement reform, Blunt conceded that while cutting such programs has to be discussed, the American public isn't always on board.

Blunt talked about the reform effort of 2005: "It was about 100 days, every phone I had rang all the time and not one person called and said thanks for trying to reform these programs or thanks for trying to cut these programs.  Every single call…was 'Don't cut my program.'"

But with a deficit looming at the $14 trillion mark -- and a polls showing a majority of Americans want to see spending cut -- it seems this push might produce a different result.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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