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Obama: No fiscal cliff deal without higher tax rates for top earners

 

President Barack Obama said that a deal to avert the fiscal cliff would not happen without higher income tax rates on the top two percent of earners in his first TV interview since his re-election.

The fiscal cliff counter-offer issued by House Republicans has one thing in common with last week's White House proposal – neither was designed to win any bipartisan support. The Daily Rundown's Chuck Todd reports.

"If we're going to raise revenues that are sufficient to balance with the very tough cuts that we've already made and the further reforms in entitlements that I’m prepared to make, then we’re going to have to see the rates on the top two percent go up," the president told Bloomberg television.

"And we're not going to be able to get a deal without it," he continued. "It's not me being stubborn -- it's not me being partisan. It’s just a matter of math."

He said that getting Republicans to agree to higher tax rates was more urgent than meeting with House Speaker John Boehner to hammer out the rest of the details of the plan.

The $2.2 trillion proposal floated by House Speaker John Boehner was shot down by the White House, which said Republicans' rejection of tax hikes for the wealthy and sweeping cuts to popular social programs are unacceptable. NBC's Chuck Todd reports.

"I don’t think that the issue right now has to do with sitting in a room," he said.

Boehner led Republicans in offering a counter-proposal to Obama's own fiscal plan; the GOP proposal called for $800 billion in new revenue due to closing loopholes and deductions, though it would not increase tax rates on any Americans.

"Unfortunately the speaker's proposal right now is still out of balance," Obama said of Boehner's plan.