In his first Sunday show interview since his reelection, President Barack Obama admonished congressional Republicans for their unwillingness to compromise over debt reduction and implored the media to cast aside its pox-on-both-your-houses coverage.
With the deadline for negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff looming in the backdrop, the president took to NBC’s “Meet the Press” to defend his efforts to find common ground. He noted that he had moved off his initial demands for revenue (once $1.6 trillion, now $1.2 trillion), agreed to entitlement reforms (reduced Social Security benefits) and already signed hefty spending cuts ($1 trillion as part of the Budget Control Act in 2011). For all that, he added, he was still waiting for Republicans to come closer to halfway.
“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,” said the president, according to an advance transcript of the interview with host David Gregory. Obama added later, “[S]o far, at least, Congress has not been able to get this stuff done. Not because Democrats in Congress don’t want to go ahead and cooperate, but because 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.”