resident Obama appeared in the East Room of the White House Wednesday afternoon to reiterate his stance on the looming fiscal cliff — arguing that Bush-era tax cuts should be extended for middle class Americans, but not for the nation's wealthiest. He again urged members of Congress to take action on the looming fiscal cliff before huge tax hikes and spending cuts hit at the end of the year, saying "there's only one way to solve these challenges and that's to do it together." Obama also took questions on the sex scandal that prompted CIA Director David Petraeus to resign his post last week. Obama said there is "no evidence" of a national security breach during Petraeus' affair with biographer Paula Broadwell. The president also defended U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's handling of the aftermath of the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, saying that Rice "has done exemplary work" with "skill and professionalism and toughness and grace."
On the subject of climate change, Obama acknowledged the difficulty that would come along with proposing laws to combat global warming, adding that he isn't sure what either Democrats or Republicans are prepared to do. The final question went to the subject of Syria, and whether the U.S. has any plans to arm rebels in the ongoing civil war there. Obama stressed the need for a moderate approach to the conflict, and said he's "encouraged" by the new umbrella group formed by the Syrian opposition.
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