VIDEO: President Obama speaks on “fiscal cliff” talks

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obama speech fiscal cliff

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"Preventing that tax hike has been my top priority, because the last thing folks like the folks up here on this stage can afford right now is to pay an extra $2,000 in taxes next year. Middle-class families can’t afford it. Businesses can’t afford it. Our economy can’t afford it.

"Now today it appears that an agreement to prevent this New Year’s tax hike is within sight. But it’s not done. There are still issues left to resolve, but we’re hopeful that Congress can get it done. But it’s not done."

"But with this Congress, that was obviously a little too much to hope for at this time. It may be we can do it in stages. We’re going to solve this problem instead in several steps."

"Democrats and Republicans in Congress have to get this done. But they’re not there yet. They are close, but they’re not there yet.

And one thing we can count on with respect to this Congress is that if there is even one second left before you have to do what you’re supposed to do, they will use that last second. So as of this point, it looks like I’m going to be spending New Year’s here in D.C."

"And so keep the pressure on over the next 12 hours or so. Let’s see if we can get this thing done."

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