WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says Republicans should compromise and increase tax revenues as part of a “long-term grand bargain” on the budget, and praised President Obama for reaching out to senators across the aisle.

“I’m open — have always been open — to closing loopholes, eliminating special deals for special interests,” McCain said in an interview on “Political Capital With Al Hunt,” airing this weekend on Bloomberg Television. “If you call that, ‘raising revenues,’ I’ve been guilty all my political career” of trying to cut special-interest loopholes.

Obama and congressional Democrats want to combine higher revenues with spending cuts to replace the $1.2 trillion in automatic budget cuts that began taking effect March 1.

Many Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, have rejected tax increases, and the House last year voted to cut food stamps and other domestic programs rather than defense in order to avoid the reductions known as sequestration.

McCain, who lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential election, said that in contrast to his first term, the president “has changed significantly” and is reaching out to Republicans.

“The question is: Will that translate into what I think we’ve got to do sooner or later, and that’s a grand bargain?” he told interviewer Hans Nichols. “I am more than willing to give the president of the United States the opportunity to sit down and work with us. And we may have to make some concessions on our side.”

Read more in Saturday’s Arizona Daily Star and at azstarnet.com