With the fiscal cliff deadline looming, President Barack Obama used a rare appearance on Meet The Press Sunday to defend his inability to have reached a grand bargain, chiding GOP leaders for obstructing a deal to prevent taxes from rising on most Americans.
“We have been talking to the Republicans ever since the election was over,” Obama told MTP host David Gregory in the interview, which was taped at the White House Saturday. “They have had trouble saying ‘yes’ to a number of repeated offers. Yesterday I had another meeting with the leadership, and I suggested to them if they can’t do a comprehensive package of smart deficit reductions, let’s at minimum make sure that people’s taxes don’t go up and that two million people don’t lose their unemployment insurance.”
“I was modestly optimistic yesterday, but we don’t see an agreement,” he said. “Now the pressure’s on Congress to produce.”
“The offers that I’ve made to them have been so fair that a lot of Democrats get mad at me,” Obama added. “They say that their biggest priority is making sure that we deal with the deficit in a serious way. But the way they’re behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected. That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme.”
Watch the clip below: