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December 04, 2012

Obama says there's "potential" for a fiscal cliff deal

The White House and Congress appear at logger heads over finding a way to avert a looming financial crisis and President Obama remained firm Tuesday that Republicans are going to have to raise taxes on the wealthiest.

"We have the potential of getting a deal done, but it's going to require what I talked about during the campaign, which is a balanced, responsible approach to deficit reduction that can help give businesses certainty and make sure that the country grows," Obama said in the interview with Bloomberg TV.  He panned the House Republican bid as "out of balance."

"If we're going to be serious about reducing our deficit, while still being able to invest in things like education and research and development that are important to our growth, and if we're going to protect middle-class families, then we're going to have to have higher rates for the wealthiest Americans, folks like me," he said.

Obama dismissed suggestions that he and House Speaker John Boehner need to talk more to get a deal struck.

"I don't think that the issue right now has to do with sitting in a room," Obama said. "The issue right now that's relevant is the acknowledgment that if we're going to raise revenues that are sufficient to balance with the very tough cuts that we've already made and the further reforms in entitlements that I'm prepared to make, that we're going to have to see the rates on the top 2 percent go up. And we're not going to be able to get a deal without it."

He added, "It's not me being stubborn. It's not me being partisan. It's just a matter of math."

He said that suggestions that $800 billion or $1 trillion could be raised "just by closing loopholes and deductions" would mean eliminating items like charitable deductions and that "every hospital and university and not-for-profit agency across the country would suddenly find themselves on the verge of collapse."

Asked about what he's willing to cut, Obama said he was "prepared to make some tough decisions," but said he can't ask middle-class seniors and students with student loans "to sacrifice and not ask anything of higher-income folks."


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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