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Obama: 'American People' Better Than Their Representatives

5:54 PM, Dec 21, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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President Barack Obama said this evening in a statement to the press that "the American people are a lot more sensible and a lot more thoughtful and much more willing to compromise and give and sacrifice and act responsibly than their elected representatives are. And that's a problem. There's a mismatch right now between how everybody else is thinking about these problems, Democrats and Republicans," according to a rush transcript of the remarks. 

In particular, Obama is referring to the "fiscal cliff" negotiations.

The president suggested, however, that he has been one party in this negotiation process willing to compromise.

"During the course of these negotiations, I offered to compromise with the Republicans in Congress," he said, according to a rush transcript. "I met them halfway on taxes and I met them more than halfway on spending. And in terms of actual dollar amounts, we're not that far apart. As of today, I am still ready and willing to get a comprehensive package done. I still believe that reducing our deficit is the right thing to do or for the long-term health of our economy and the health of our businesses. I remain committed working towards that goal, whether it happens at once or in several different steps. but in ten days we face a deadline. In ten days under current law, tax rates are scheduled to rise on most Americans."

Obama urged elected officials to consider their options over Christmas. "So, as we leave town for a few days to be with our families for the holidays, I hope it gives everybody some perspective. Everybody can cool off, everybody can drink some eggnog, have some Christmas cookies, sing some Christmas carols, enjoy the company of loved ones, and then I'd ask every member of Congress while they are back home to think about that. Think about the obligations to the people who sent us here."

The president concluded, "I want to wish every American a merry Christmas and, you know, because we didn't get this done, I'll see you next week."

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