White House senior adviser David Plouffe on Sunday called out CNN host Candy Crowley for making a "false equivalency" by suggesting both Democrats and Republicans had made the same efforts to hold the debt ceiling hostage to push their agenda.

In a preview of President Barack Obama's second inauguration, Crowley asked Plouffe if it was necessary for the president to engage the American people in political debates by arguing that an "evil motivation" was driving Republicans.

"It's hard to see a president calling for unity when he is suggesting that people who disagree with him don't disagree with him on policy, but disagree with him because they care more about the NRA or they don't care -- in the case of the debt ceiling -- whether the country falls into recession again," Crowley charged.

"Well, on the debt ceiling, it's the truth," Plouffe pointed out. "Think about this, Candy. For the first time in our country's history..."

"Just reminding people that the president himself, when he was in the Senate, voted against the debt ceiling," Crowley interrupted. "So these people that he's suggesting want the country to go into default are doing the same thing he did when he was a senator."

"No," Plouffe replied sternly. "He did vote against it, he's spoken to that. That's a political vote and he's learned from that. But at the time, Congress wasn't threatening to say we're not going to pay our bills unless we get what we want -- deeper cuts in Medicare than are required -- or we're going to tank the economy."

"I mean, this false equivalence needs to stop," he added. "The barrier to progress here is not the president. We need more Republicans in Congress to think like Republicans in the country who are seeking compromise who are seeking balance because we are poised here to really grow."

Watch this video from CNN's State of the Union, broadcast Jan. 20, 2013.