Washington (CNN) – In the midst of a congressional charm offensive, senior Obama administration officials are slamming a new budget proposal from top House Republicans as so full of gimmicks that it will explode the deficit.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, White House officials essentially accused House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of misreading last November's election results in releasing a spending plan on Tuesday that seeks to unravel much of the Obama domestic agenda.
Ryan said repealing the president's health care law, also known as "Obamacare," is critical to efforts to balance the budget.
"We will never be able to balance the budget if you keep Obamacare going because Obamacare is a fiscal train wreck," Ryan said at a news conference on Tuesday.
But Obama administration officials directed much of their frustration at Ryan's plan to reduce and flatten income tax rates. Those administration officials complained the House GOP tax cuts would leave a $5 trillion hole in the budget.
Despite those misgivings, White House officials sounded cautiously optimistic about prospects for a deficit deal with congressional leaders.
Following Obama's first visit to Capitol Hill on Tuesday as part of a three-day stretch of meetings with lawmakers from both parties, the White House said progress was already being made.
Administration officials insisted the White House is unified behind the president's so-called "charm offensive."
But officials cautioned they are not limiting themselves to a purely insider approach.
As budget talks continue, the president will continue to make his case on deficit reduction to the American people at campaign-style events, senior administration officials said.