President Obama used a trip to a family's basement apartment in Northern Virginia on Thursday to make his latest public appeal for a White House plan to avert a series of tax increases on Jan. 1.

In what amounted to a carefully orchestrated photo op, Obama traveled to the Falls Church home of Tiffany Santana, a high school English teacher who told the president on social media how a tax increase would affect her life.

For Obama, the event was a chance to put a human face on his plea to extend tax cuts for the middle class.

"We're in the midst of the Christmas season," Obama said, sitting at a table with the Santana family. "For them to be burdened unnecessarily because Democrats and Republicans aren't coming together to solve this problem gives you a sense of the costs involved in very personal terms."

Santana's husband, a local autoworker, her mother, a child care provider, and her father, a postal worker, also spoke with the president. Because her parents contribute to the family's income, Santana said the household's taxes will jump $4,000 next year if leaders don't unite reach a deficit-reduction deal that avoids massive tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect in January.

Just before the meeting, the White House released a campaign-style video in which the family members outlined their monthly expenses and the detrimental effect higher taxes would have on them.

The meet and greet in Virginia was the latest stop in the president's campaign to pressure Congress to accept the tax increase he wants for the wealthiest taxpayers. Obama last week toured a toy factory in Pennsylvania, and next week he'll travel to Detroit to make another pitch.

Sitting with the Santana family, the president vowed to block any deal that lacked the tax increase he wants.

"So just to be clear, I'm not going to sign any package that somehow prevents the top rate from going up for folks at the top 2 percent," he said. "But I do remain optimistic that we can get something done that is good for families like this one and that is good for the American economy."