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As some progressives push back, Pelosi embraces Obama cliff offer

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday that she backs President Barack Obama's newest proposal to avert the fiscal cliff, defying some progressive Democrats who object to an included cost-of-living calculation that could effectively cut entitlement benefits to Social Security recipients.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., shares her thoughts the mass shooting in Newtown and the fiscal cliff negotiations on Capitol Hill.

Asked by NBC's Andrea Mitchell if she believes she can rally enough Democratic support to pass the White House's plan, Pelosi responded "Yes, I do."

"I believe the president has demonstrated great leadership in what he put forth," she said, arguing that the White House plan would help avert the cliff, create consumer confidence and avoid a credit rating downgrade.

Pelosi pushed back on progressive opponents of one compromise measure that would modify the way cost-of-living increases are calculated to determine Society Security payments. While some in the Democratic Party say that the change -- called "chained CPI" --  would effectively cut Social Security payments, the minority leader said Tuesday that the effects on poor recipients would be minimal once all of the specifics of the deal are worked out.

"The details of this are not all ironed out, but they all mitigate for helping the poorest and neediest in our society, whether they are [Supplemental Security Income] recipients, whether they're 80 and older, or whether they're truly needy," she said.

But, she added, she would join some of those progressive Democrats in opposing an increase in the Medicare eligibility age.

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks to reporters in the Capitol in Washington December 13, 2012.

Pelosi also came out against House Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" proposal earlier Tuesday to push a standalone measure that would address tax rates for earners under $1 million.

"Plan B, I would call it 'Plan Befuddled," she said of Boehner's suggestion, adding that the measure cannot pass both houses of Congress.

'It's a tactic, but it's not a serious proposal," she said.

Republicans have pointed out that Pelosi herself suggested in May that tax rates should be maintained for all earners under $1 million, the same threshold that Boehner offered today.

Pelosi said Tuesday that her own proposal was in part a way to "smoke out" the opposition in getting Republicans to agree to at least some rate hikes, a move that they have now made in -- Pelosi argues -- a victory for the president.

"I'm glad he's taking up some of my suggestions," she said of Boehner. 'My next suggestion would be to put something on the table - as we were suggesting then to smoke out the Republicans - at what level would you raise the rates on the wealthiest people in this country? Not 'would you raise them at a million dollars?' That was the point of that exercise."