President Obama predicted that House Republicans, led by Speaker John Boehner, would agree to cut taxes for the middle class by the end of the year.
"I'm pretty confident that Republicans would not hold middle class taxes hostage to trying to protect tax cuts for high-income individuals," Obama said in an interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters. "I don't think they'll do that."
Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama sat down with Walters for an interview. Parts were released last night, but others will air on Friday on 20/20.
The president and speaker have been negotiating for weeks to avoid a series of spending cuts and tax hikes known as the fiscal cliff. They have traded offers, but Obama has said repeatedly that he would not raise taxes on the middle class -- a campaign contribution.
"I remain optimistic," Obama said. "I'd like to see a big package. But the most important thing we can do is make sure that middle class taxes do not go up on Jan. 1."