"You can't, just because you've engaged in some set of negotiations and they haven’t gone anywhere, for one reason or another there’s been a breakdown, [that] is no reason to walk away from the table," Panetta said at a Wall Street Journal breakfast. "In this town, you've got to stay with it and stay at it."
Panetta said that everyone is to blame, and that the two sides needed to operate with a sense of trust.
"When you are operating by crisis, I think there's enough blame to go around," he said. "Everybody has to engage, and engage – as I said – on the basis of trust. This town has gotten a lot meaner in the last few years."
Panetta also placed blame on certain factors that have contributed to polarization in Congress like redistricting, constant fundraising and a lack of personal relationships between politicians.