|President Obama: AP|
A defensive President Obama cast himself Tuesday as the guardian of middle-class Americans and the unemployed, saying sharply that he had to strike a deal with Senate Republicans over the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy in order to protect the fragile economic recovery.
Facing broad frustration from his party's liberal base and many Democrats on the Hill, Obama emphasized the portions of the compromise he reached the previous day that benefit middle class families and the jobless, whose government insurance would have expired without the deal.
Obama said he had little choice but to compromise because he has been unable to persuade Senate Republicans to maintain middle-class tax cuts without also extending the top-tier tax rates for another two years - even though a majority of Americans agree tax cuts on high incomes should end.
"A long political fight that carried over into next year might have been good politics, but it would be a bad deal for the economy and it would be a bad deal for the American people," Obama said during an afternoon news conference.
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