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Obama optimistic about 'framework' for fiscal cliff deal

President Obama expressed optimism in a “framework” for deficit reduction being worked out before Washington disperses for the holidays as he urged Congress to act quickly and extend tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans.

“I believe that both parties can agree on a framework that does that in the coming weeks. In fact, my hope is to get this done before Christmas,” he said, flanked by people who the White House said responded to emails asking them how a preserved lower tax rate would help them.

President Obama is pushing a plan to extend the Bush tax rates for everyone making less than $250,000 and let taxes go up for everyone else. But House Republicans are pushing spending cuts that would supplement the tax hikes. With both sides pressuring one another, a compromise has yet to be reached. NBC's Chuck Todd reports.

He said an immediate extension of tax cuts for those Americans would allow Democrats and Republicans to focus on long-term deficit reduction.

“Families and small businesses would therefore be able to enjoy some peace of mind heading into Christmas and heading into the New Year. And it would give us more time than next year to work together on a comprehensive plan to bring down our deficits.”

He also alluded to recent statements by Senate and House Republicans expressing a willingness to consider previously non-negotiable positions, including GOP Rep. Tom Cole’s statement yesterday that Republicans should in fact deal with tax cuts for the wealthiest earners separately from those Democrats want to extend now.

 “I'm glad to see, if you've been reading the papers lately, that more and more Republicans in Congress seem to be agreeing with this idea that we should have a balanced approach,” Obama said.

But House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday firmly rejected Cole’s suggestion and reiterated his position that Republicans are willing to consider new revenue but oppose a hike in any income tax rates.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Barack Obama greets middle class people who joined him on stage after he delivered remarks about extending tax cuts for middle class people during an event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building November 28, 2012 in Washington, DC.

The president’s event, held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s South Court Auditorium, was meant to highlight a new social media campaign intended to get Americans vocal about what keeping an extra $2,000 on their paycheck would mean – similarly to what the White House did to encourage Americans to get involved over

The catchphrase for the new campaign? “My2K,” or #My2K for those on Twitter.

“Tweet using the hashtag My2K or email, you know, post it on -- on a member of Congress' Facebook wall. Do what it takes to communicate a sense of urgency. We don't have a lot of time here. We've got a few weeks to get this thing done,” Obama said.

“It's too important for Washington to screw this up,” he continued.