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President Obama Press Conference on Tax Deal


Per Daily Kos:

Chuck Todd asks whether Obama caved to the GOP. Obama: “I think it’s tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers…unless the hostage gets harmed.” Obama argued that if tax cuts expired, which he says would have happened without caving to GOP, the American public would have been harmed. Obama says the problem isn’t that he had failed to convince the American public of his position, but rather that the GOP’s top priority is tax cuts for the wealthy and that they were unwilling to cave. Obama argues that the temporary extension gives him the time he needs to win the fight the next time around. Todd asks follow up, whether Obama’s deal telegraphs the best way to negotiate with him. Obama says no, and that he’s happy to have Republicans test him to see if he’s willing to fight — as long as the public doesn’t get hurt.

UPDATE: Obama uses public option fight as an example of “purist” position versus “getting something done.” “That can’t be the measure about how we think about our public service…of what it means to be a Democrat…this is a big, diverse country, not everyone agrees with us…most Americans are just trying to figure out how to go about their lives…that means in order to get stuff done we’re going to compromise…this country was founded on compromise…my job is to make sure that we have a north star out there, what is helping the American people live out their lives…what is growing our economy, making us more competitive…can’t always get my preferred option done…I’m keeping my eye on the long term…not the day-to-day news cycle…there’s not a single thing that I’ve said that I haven’t done or tried to do…to my Democratic friends, what I’d suggest that we’d understand this is a long game…to my Republican friends, I’d suggest this is a good agreement.

UPDATE #2: Analysis on MSNBC says Obama is the “passionate pragmatist.” Somebody who did what he had to do with a Democratic Congress, now in a period of divided government will get done what he has to do for the American people.

UPDATE #3: Greg Sargent of The Plum Line writes that “Obama was as visibly frustrated and angry as he’s perhaps ever been in public, and some folks are pointing out on Twitter that he seems more angry with the left than he is with Republicans.” Sargent continues, “That was by far Obama’s sternest publicly rebuke yet of his liberal critics, and his frustration with them — which seems to have built up over the past two years — was palpable. If Obama is going to play the role of adult-in-chief going forward, his tormentors on the left clearly will not be spared the rod.”

UPDATE #4: The AFL-CIO says that President Obama’s tax deal is “an ‘unconscionable’ giveaway to wealthy interests.”

UPDATE #5: Grover Norquist declares victory, says this is “‘a much bigger victory than people see’ for the Republicans.”  Oh joy.

UPDATE #6: The Congressional Progressive Caucus calls for “Congressional leaders in the House and Senate to hold firm on passing a middle class tax cut with no strings attached” and for “Congressional Republicans to stop using unemployed Americans as bargaining chips in exchange for another tax break for the wealthy.”

UPDATE #7: I emailed Rep. Jim Moran’s office and asked for his thoughts on the tax deal announced yesterday. His response was “Deeply concerned,” and he promised to expand on this in a statement when the House considers the package.

UPDATE #8: Roll Call reports, “Liberal activists angry about President Barack Obama’s concession on tax cuts for upper-income Americans crashed two phone lines at the White House and are gearing up for another onslaught of calls to Senate Democratic leaders in an eleventh-hour push to kill the deal.”