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Obama uses fiscal cliff press conference as victory lap

Obama wasn’t making any friends today. In fact, he looked somewhat like a tool.

With less than 12 hours to go until the United States dove off the fiscal cliff, the President took the podium to make a public service announcement: I won.

Just as sources were reporting that Senate Republicans were close to cutting a deal with Senate Democrats and the White House, but that no deal has officially been made, the President disparaged Republicans in Congress at a live event with “middle class Americans” at the White House.

President Obama’s televised campaign event on Monday did the exact opposite of help.

“There are still issues left to resolve, but we’re hopeful that Congress can get it done,” President Obama said during his fiscal cliff event. “But it’s not done.”

Obama’s press conference was expected to nudge Congress along toward a deal. Instead, the President used the opportunity to take a victory lap, blaming Republicans for the lack of a complete deal.

“I have to say that ever since I took office, throughout the campaign and over the last couple of months, my preference would have been to solve all these problems in the context of a larger agreement, a bigger deal, a grand bargain — whatever you want to call it — that solves our deficit problems in a balanced and responsible way,” he said.

The President added that with “this Congress” that was just “too much to hope for at this time.”

Obama said the fiscal cliff problems would be solved in a matter of steps and would include both tax hikes and spending cuts.

As POLITICO reported, the possible deal would raise taxes on households making $450,000 or more yearly and individuals making $400,000 or more yearly. Obama said during his press conference that the wealthiest two percent of Americans would face a tax increase, but did not specify the salary cutoff point.

“You know, keep in mind that just last month, Republicans in Congress said they would never agree to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans,” Obama said, taking a jab at Republicans. “Obviously the agreement that’s currently being discussed would raise those rates and raise them permanently.”

Obama said preventing the fiscal cliff tax hike was his top priority in these negotiations. A deal that would prevent those increases is “within sight,” according to the President.

But with the President using his press conference to point fingers at Republicans, a deal might be farther than he thinks. Protip: It’s never a good idea to purposefully outrage the other side.


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