Obama calls for compromise, won't budge on tax cuts

Days after Democrats received a self-described "shellacking" at the polls, President Obama called for an end to campaigning and an embrace of compromise.

But he signaled no willingness to bend on the first challenge likely to face him from a Republican House as he advocated the permanent extension of Bush-era tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 a year despite the GOP's resolve to extend the tax cuts for all income brackets.

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In his weekly address Saturday, Obama said that Democrats and Republicans not only agree on middle-class tax cuts but the need to rein in spending, and used this to try to drive his position on the tax cuts.

"At a time when we are going to ask folks across the board to make such difficult sacrifices, I don’t see how we can afford to borrow an additional $700 billion from other countries to make all the Bush tax cuts permanent, even for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans," the president said. "We’d be digging ourselves into an even deeper fiscal hole and passing the burden on to our children."

Obama noted the importance of extending the tax cuts in the lame-duck session, but focused the address on digging in against the full extension sought by Republicans and some Democrats.

"If Congress doesn’t act by New Year’s Eve, middle-class families will see their taxes go up starting on New Year’s Day," he warned.

Obama noted the discontent of the country and the "compromise" that needs to take place between both parties.

The president said that the "message was clear" from voters on Election Day, and that he was also "frustrated" by the sluggish pace of economic recovery. "You’re fed up with partisan politics and want results," Obama said. "I do too."

Obama congratulated the victors that will make up the 112th Congress. "But now, the campaign season is over," he said.

The new Congress would carry over responsibility to tackle the same challenges, he said.

“This is a great opportunity to show everyone that we got the message and that we’re willing, in this post-election season, to come together and do what’s best for the country we all love.”