Obama said Republicans in Congress rejected what he called a balanced approach to deficit reduction that included tax increases on the wealthy.
"Despite the broad agreement that exists for such an approach, there are still to many Republicans in Congress that have refused to listen to the voices of reason and compromise that are coming from outside of Washington," Obama told reporters after the super committee announced its failure.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Democrats "were prepared to strike a grand bargain that would make painful cuts while asking millionaires to pay their fair share, and we put our willingness on paper," but Republicans "never came close to meeting us halfway."
His GOP counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, argued that an agreement "proved impossible not because Republicans were unwilling to compromise, but because Democrats would not accept any proposal that did not expand the size and scope of government or punish job creators."
Republican presidential contenders complained that Obama had failed to display necessary leadership to forge an agreement, an accusation rejected by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
"Congress assigned itself a job; assigned 12 of its own members a task -- a task that wasn't really that difficult to achieve if there was a willingness to compromise," Carney said of the so-called super committee created under the debt ceiling agreement earlier this year. He added: "Congress needs to meet its responsibilities."
Mitch is a funny guy. But not as much as Congress itself is. Nobody expected the Super Committee to do anything, but that wasn't the point. The point was the President maneuvering the Republicans into a no-win position, and that's exactly what he has done. The Republicans will do anything to delay the inevitable, but they're locked into each counter-move from here, forced to react, not act.
Now the fun really begins.