By Geneva Sands - 01/03/13 02:12 PM EST
"First and foremost, I think nobody in America is going to miss the previous Congress. I think that's fairly well-established. When your approval rating is compared to Fidel Castro, I think that sort of ends that conversation," former White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on CBS "This Morning."
Members of the 113th Congress will be sworn into office today, ending the 112th Congress at noon.
"In this piece we have averted tax rates going up on the middle class right now, which is a huge victory, I think, for the country. The question is, again, we have this government by mini-crisis and the question is, how are we going to meet that moment in the next two months?" he said.
The fiscal cliff deal extended tax rates on annual income below $450,000 for families and $400,000 for individuals.
Gibbs rejected the argument that President Obama has used up his political "leverage" in the debate to avoid the fiscal cliff.
"I think what is fair, is that we're going to judge the totality of this fiscal-cliff deal based on what happens at the end of February. Are we making progress and making our tax code more balanced? Are we doing something that helps continue to strengthen the economy as well as gets our fiscal house in order?" Gibbs said.
The reelection campaign adviser told CBS that Obama would like to establish "more balance" in the tax code and institute a reduction in government spending.
When pressed on whether Obama hurt his legislative agenda by putting off parts of the fiscal-cliff legislation and creating so-called "cascading cliffs," Gibbs said, "We have a lot of things we have to solve.
"We ought to be able to, and Washington has to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time," Gibbs added.
The law signed by Obama does not raise the debt ceiling, which needs to be lifted in the next two months. Congress also needs action to keep the government funded through the entire year.