The White House continued laying out in stark terms what the cuts would mean for government services, dispatching Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to warn of the implications for critical security functions.
"I don't think we can maintain the same level of security at all places around the country with sequester as without sequester," said Napolitano, adding that the impact would be "'like a rolling ball. It will keep growing."
Despite the Friday deadline, there are no serious negotiations happening between the White House and Congress. Obama is focused instead are trying to rally public support for his stance in the debate by warning Americans of the dire consequences of the across-the-board cuts.
The president told the governors that cuts would "''slow our economy, eliminate good jobs, and leave a lot of folks who are already pretty thinly stretched scrambling to figure out what to do."
The spending cuts have frustrated governors attending the National Governors Association meeting in Washington. They contend it has created widespread uncertainty in the economy and hampered economic recovery in their states.
"The president needs to show leadership," said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican considered a potential 2016 presidential contender, outside the West Wing. "The reality is it can be done. This administration has an insatiable appetite for new revenue."
Democratic governors, meanwhile, laid responsibility squarely at the feet of Congress, but called on lawmakers from both parties to compromise.
"They need to get out of that box that sits under the dome and understand that this has real implications in people's lives," said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy. "Work with the president, find a way to get it done — or if you want, just turn it over to us governors, and we'll negotiate."