In heading off what has become a redoubtable impasse on the nation’s debt ceiling, President Barack Obama used a word that seems to be alien to Republicans: compromise.

In a 15-minute address from the White House on Monday evening, Obama told the nation that he is willing to compromise with Republicans in order to keep the country from experiencing its first default.

“We can’t allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington’s political warfare,” he said in the prime-time speech. Americans, he said are “fed up with a town where compromise has become a dirty word.

“The American people may have voted for a divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government,” he added.

Central to Obama’s derision was the Republicans’ plan, which would raise the debt ceiling by approximately $1 trillion and extend the limit through 2012. Such a measure, he charged, “doesn’t solve the problem.”

In an even more caustic and pointed comment, he targeted the newly arrived GOP members with Tea Party credentials, stating that he and they “don’t see eye to eye on many issues,” an understatement of gargantuan proportions.

“There’s no point in putting the economy at risk by kicking the can further down the road,” Obama said, referring primarily to House Speaker John Boehner’s plan.

During his five-minute reply to the president’s speech, Boehner said, “The president would not take yes for an answer,” he said, adding that he had taken great steps to try to reach some sort of a deal.

Appearing on CNN Tuesday afternoon, David Plouffe, senior advisor to Obama, warned, “A default would have critical consequences for the nation…we have a hard deadline and we’ve got to find some common ground.”

That common ground is needed soon, as it’s less than a week from the Aug. 2 deadline that would have a wide-ranging impact on governmental agencies and, more devastatingly, to the credit standing of the American people, particularly those depending on Social Security checks or on Medicaid and Medicare.

“It is true that the U.S.’s credit rating will be seriously impacted by a default,” said Dedrick Muhammad, senior director for economic programs for the NAACP. “But what about the credit situation of millions of Americans, many of whom are barely able to eke out a decent living?”

The questions continue to mount with seemingly few reasonable or at least agreed-upon answers.