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Obama defends tax deal, says best for the nation

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Posted: Dec 7, 2010 1:43 PM
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: washington, democrat, republican, president, obama, compromise, tax, cuts, unemployment, benefits, wbrz, louisiana

WASHINGTON - Facing a Democratic rebellion, President Barack Obama on Tuesday staunchly defended his decision to compromise with Republicans and temporarily extend about-to-expire tax cuts for all Americans.

"There are some who would have preferred a protracted political fight," the president said at a White House news conference a day after the deal was announced. "And I understand the desire for a fight. I'm sympathetic to that."

But, he said, a long political battle "would be a bad deal for the economy. And it would be a bad deal for the American people." Still, he promised a fight during 2012, when the tax cuts would expire again, to make the point that he opposes the Republican position that high-income earners should get the extension, too.

Obama called "tax cuts for the wealthy" the Republicans' "holy grail."

"It seems to be their economic doctrine," Obama added, previewing a likely argument during his expected re-election race in 2012 when tax cuts are all but certain to be a major issue.

With the compromise agreement with Republicans - opposed by many Democrats in Congress - the president gave up a key goal to let Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans expire. But he said the deal would stop taxes from rising for middle class Americans, "which is what I promised."

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