President Obama appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory this morning to discuss a number of issues, including the "fiscal cliff" crisis. "They say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way, but the way they're behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected," President Obama told David Gregory and the nation. "That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme."
President Obama pounded away at the theme that Republicans are protecting their wealthy constituency and not the middle-class. "I think it's been very hard for Speaker Boehner and Republican Leader McConnell to accept the fact that taxes on the wealthiest Americans should go up a little bit, as part of an overall deficit reduction package."
President Obama insisted that Republicans don't know how to say yes. "We have been talking to the Republicans ever since the election was over. They have had trouble saying yes to a number of repeated offers."
On Saturday, President Obama was optimistic, but at this point that optimism seems to have fade. "I was modestly optimistic yesterday, but we don't yet see an agreement. And now the pressure's on Congress to produce."
President Obama also returned to campaign themes of protecting the middle-class, but adding seniors and the poor to the mix. "I also have an obligation to the American people to make sure that the entire burden of deficit reduction doesn't fall on seniors who are relying on Medicare. I also have an obligation to make sure that families who rely on Medicaid to take care of a disabled child aren't carrying this burden entirely. "
President Obama added, "I also have an obligation to middle class families to make sure that they're not paying higher taxes when millionaires and billionaires are not having to pay higher taxes."
President Obama also listed his legislative priorities for 2013, starting with immigration, "fixing our broken immigration system is a top priority." He promised to introduce legislation to reform immigration the first of the new year.
His second priority is to stabilize the economy, including deficit reduction and increasing infrastructure spending. A third priority is "producing more energy and America can become an energy exporter." President Obama also promised a "to have a national conversation and move something through Congress."
But President Obama's first priority at the moment is the "fiscal cliff." In light of this, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released a statement in response to President Obama's interview on Meet the Press. “Americans elected President Obama to lead, not cast blame." Boehner added that the President is the one that "has never been able to get to yes."
But the facts are clear that the Republicans have earned the title of the party of "No."
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group. Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books