However, this morning did mark the first time that the President has couched his position on taxes in starkly political terms. Obama all but admitted that it will be impossible for Democrats and Republicans to reach an agreement on the Bush tax cuts before the November election, signaling that his administration won't be willing to muddle through a deal with Republicans on the fiscal cliff and is prepared to take a hardline on the Bush tax cuts, at least until after the election.
"The debate on the tax cut for the wealthiest Americans will be decided by the next election," he said. "My opponent will fight to keep them in place; I will fight to end them."
In the meantime, Obama argued, Congress should pass the tax cut extension that both parties agree upon:
"So my message to Congress is this: Pass a bill extending the tax cuts for the middle class & I’ll sign it tomorrow," he said. "When that's done, we can have the debate over whether to extend the tax cuts on wealthier Americans, and we'll deal with that after the election."