Obama explains deal: Tax cuts for wealthy the GOP ‘holy grail’

Taking heat from the left as well as from moderate Democrats like Colorado’s Mark Udall for cutting a deal with Republicans to extend tax cuts for millionaires in a time of recession and ballooning deficits, Pres. Obama explained the decision was a matter of delivering on promises, minimizing economic “collateral damage” by doing what he thinks is best for the economy and job creation and regrouping to battle the high-end tax cuts another day.

“On the Republican side, this is their holy grail, these tax cuts for the wealthy. This seems to be their central economic doctrine. And so unless we had sixty votes in the Senate at any given time, it would have been very hard for us to move this forward,” he said.

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“I have said I would have liked to see a vote before the election. I thought this was a strong position for us to take into the election, to crystallize the positions of the two parties because I think the Democrats have better ideas. I think our proposal to make sure the middle class is held harmless but that we don’t make these Bush tax cuts permanent for wealthy individuals because it was going to cost the country at a time when we got these looming deficits and the American people were persuaded by that.

“But the fact of the matter is I haven’t persuaded the leaders of the Republican party. I haven’t persuaded Mitch McConnell and I haven’t persuaded John Boehner. And if I can’t persuade them, then I’ve got to look at what is the best thing to do given that reality for the American people and for jobs.”

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