Obama: `Very Clear Deadline’ — Don’t `Hold Middle Class Hostage’

“We face a very clear deadline,” President Barack Obama said today of the so-called “fiscal cliff” looming at year’s end. “There’s only one way to solve these challenges and that is to do it together… I am open to compromise, and I am open to new ideas.”

“We should not hold the middle class hostage while we negotiate taxes for the wealthy,” the president said.

This was the president’s first White House news conference since June 8, when he answered just a few questions, and a formal one in March — and of course his first meeting of the press since winning re-election Nov. 6 with 50.8 percent of the popular vote and an Electoral College count of 332-206.

Unlike the “shellacking” of the 2010 mid-term elections, the president’s party came out of  this year’s campaign with more seats in the Senate and House, yet still a party-divided Congress.

“Our top priority has to be jobs and growth — you’ve got to build on the progress we’ve made,” Obama said. The economy “can’t afford” the taxes and spending cuts that come without action on the fiscal cliff.

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