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The fiscal cliff: Obama's plea for bipartisan compromise
In his first public address since declaring victory Tuesday night, the newly re-elected president urges Congress to end the gridlock
 
President Obama addresses the nation Friday about how he and congressional leaders will work together to avoid the "fiscal cliff."
President Obama addresses the nation Friday about how he and congressional leaders will work together to avoid the "fiscal cliff."
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The video: A freshly re-elected President Obama, brimming with confidence, announced Friday that he had invited lawmakers from both parties to the White House next week to begin hammering out a bipartisan debt-reduction deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff." Without an agreement, $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts will kick in on Jan. 1, almost certainly plunging the nation back into recession. Throughout the campaign, Obama argued that rich should pay more taxes to reduce the deficit, and he said Friday that his victory proved most Americans agree with him. "Our job now is to get a majority in Congress to reflect the will of the American people," he said. "I am open to new ideas," Obama continued, "but I refuse to accept any approach that isn't balanced" with both spending cuts and revenue hikes. Obama also said he would be ready to sign a bill "right now" guaranteeing that taxes wouldn't go up for the 98 percent of Americans who make less than $250,000. See the video below. (Obama takes the stage at the 2:40 mark.)


The reaction: Look, says John H. Cushman Jr. at The New York Times: While Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have "both professed their willingness to reach common ground," what they're really doing is "defending their competing approaches for resolving the budget impasse." Obama and Boehner are indeed playing a "passive-aggressive" game, says Jim Mitchell at The Dallas Morning News. Though Obama did avoid insisting on a hike of tax rates for the rich, which could mean raising money in ways "Boehner might be able to sell to his party." If so, "it's time for Obama to play bad cop in his own party to allow this sort of bargain to take place." Remember, Obama and Boehner tried, and failed, to forge a bipartisan deal in the summer of 2011, says Tim Fernholz at Quartz. This time, however, "the president's bargaining position is much better." If Congress does nothing, everybody's taxes go up. GOP anti-tax hardliners can't let that happen, so moderates in their party might have the "gumption" it will take to push through a deal.

 

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