Bully Pulpit

Obama Defends Tax Deal

President Barack Obama defended his deal with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts for two years in exchange for new stimulus measures. “Some would have preferred a protracted political fight even if it meant higher taxes for all Americans,” Obama said. He said that, while he understands the desire for a fight—and that he’ll oppose the Bush tax cuts for the rich when they’re up again in two years—he’s “not here to play games with the American people or the health of our economy.” He was scathing, however, about the GOP he dealt with: “This is their holy grail, these tax cuts for the wealthy,” and said he was "happy to be tested" by Republicans. He acknowledged that most Americans support repealing the tax cuts for the rich, but said he couldn’t persuade the Senate GOP: “I have not been able to budge them.”