While touring a monastery in Thailand on Sunday, President Barack Obama fused together prayer and the fiscal cliff.
Obama was with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a tour of the ancient Wat-Pho temple. In the process of viewing the site, the impending budget negotiations became a topic of conversation.
"We're working on this budget," Obama said in front of the monk, according to Reuters. "We're going to need a lot of prayer for that."
The Associated Press adds that Obama later said he was not joking about prayer's role in America's fiscal challenges.
"I always believe in prayers," the president said. "I believe in prayer when I go to church back home, and If a Buddhist monk is wishing me well, I'll take whatever good vibes he can give me to try to deal with some challenges back home."
On Friday, Obama told Congressional leaders that the fiscal cliff fell into the category of "urgent business." The president is lobbying for $1.6 trillion in tax hikes over the next decade, aided by the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the AP reported.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) pushed for the fiscal cliff to be dealt with farther down the road, with an aide emailing the Huffington Post that "2013 should be the year we begin to solve our debt problem through tax reform and entitlement reform."