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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Clinton swoops in to save tax deal as Democrats balk at compromise - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room

Official White House photo of President Bill C...Image via WikipediaClinton swoops in to save tax deal as Democrats balk at compromise - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room

President Obama called in the big guns Friday afternoon to urge Democrats to support a tax-cut compromise with congressional Republicans.

Former President Clinton, still popular with his party and utilized by the White House on the campaign trail, made a surprise appearance at a press conference with Obama to say that he supports the president's deal that has raised ire among the left in the House.

Clinton, following a meeting in the Oval Office Friday afternoon, said that while the deal is far from perfect, lawmakers should approve the deal proposed by Obama to extend all income tax rates for two years in exchange for an extension in unemployment benefits and other middle-class tax breaks.

"On its own, I wouldn't support it because I don't think that my [personal] tax cut is the most economically efficient way to get the economy going again," Clinton said in remarks in the White House briefing room. "However, the agreement taken as a whole is, I believe, the best bipartisan agreement we can reach to help the largest number of Americans."

Obama's move is extraordinary — essentially handing over control of the briefing room to the former Democratic president, with whom Obama had clashed when running for president against former first lady Hillary Clinton. Obama then left the former president alone at the podium, allowing him to field questions from the press.

"In my opinion, I think this is a good deal, and I hope my fellow Democrats support it," Clinton later added.

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