President Barack Obama today used the debt ceiling debate to again call for tax increases, even though his Hill allies have backed away from the deal-breaking demand.

Obama made the call today at the annual convention held by the National Council of La Raza, a left-of-center Hispanic advocacy group.

“We can’t just close our deficit by cutting spending … if all we do is cut, seniors will have to pay more for health care, students will have to pay more for college … we’d have to stop much of the clean-energy research,” he declared to cheers from the audience. “Not only is it not fair … it doesn’t make sense.”

Obama’s speech to La Raza focused primarily on his support for the Hispanic advocacy group, rather than on the debt-ceiling deal.

Obama needs Hispanic advocates’ help to register millions of Hispanics to vote in time for the November 2012 election. Speaking today, the president said, “We need a movement that bridges party lines, that unites business and labor and faith communities and law enforcement communities, and all who know that America cannot continue operating with a broken immigration system. And I will be there every step of the way.”

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