By David Jackson, USA TODAY
President Obama will make his first post-election comments Friday about actions needed to avoid the "fiscal cliff."
president and Congress face a Jan. 1 deadline to avoid a combination of
tax increases and spending cuts that all sides agree would undermine
the military and other basic government functions.
Obama did not
appear in public Thursday. In his address from the White House East Room
on Friday, he'll likely respond to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
called Wednesday for cooperation and suggested the GOP might accept new
government revenues -- through an overhaul of the tax code -- as part
of a deal to reduce the federal debt.
"Mr. President, this is your moment," Boehner said. "Let's challenge ourselves to find the common ground that has eluded us."
campaign adviser David Axelrod said Obama plans to follow through on
his pledge to end the George W. Bush tax cuts for Americans earning more
than $250,000 a year, and feels bolstered by his election victory.
people will read those results and read them as a vote for cooperation
and will come to the table," Axelrod told MSNBC's Morning Joe. "And obviously everyone's going to have to come with an open mind to these discussions.
"But," he added, "if the attitude is that nothing happened on Tuesday, that would be unfortunate."
The White House announced that Obama has spoken to Boehner and other
congressional leaders by phone since his re-election Tuesday, seeking a
deal to to reduce the federal debt while avoiding the expiration of tax
cuts at the end of the year.
"The president reiterated his
commitment to finding bipartisan solutions to: reduce our deficit in a
balanced way, cut taxes for middle-class families and small businesses
and create jobs," said the White House in a statement.
"The president said he believed that the American people sent a message
in yesterday's election that leaders in both parties need to put aside
their partisan interests and work with common purpose to put the
interests of the American people and the American economy first."
challenge: Obama is a Democrat, the Republicans run the House, and the
Democrats run the Senate -- the same set-up for gridlock that has
existed the past two years.
But the parties have incentive: The prospect of fiscal calamity at the end of the year.
USA TODAY's Richard Wolf described "the potential crisis
that is 54 days away: the expiration of almost every tax cut enacted
since 2001, which could raise the average U.S. household's tax burden by
$3,500, and the first $110 billion of $1.2 trillion in spending cuts
set to occur over 10 years."