BANGKOK -- Even in the temples of Asia, President Barack Obama cannot escape thoughts of that fiscal cliff back home.
Touring the Wat Pho Royal Monastery in Bangkok, a sprawling compound of temples, gardens and man-made waterfalls, Obama was overheard chatting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and with their monk guide.
Clinton made a reference to budget negotiations back in Washington, where a damaging series of tax increases and spending cuts loom.
"Yes," Obama replied. "We’re working on this budget. We’re going to need a lot of prayer for that."
At a news conference later, Obama said he was not joking about the need for prayer.
"I always believe in prayers," he 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."