Barack Obama has called on Republicans to agree to raise taxes on the rich as the first step towards a budget deal.
Speaking at his first press conference since re-election, President Obama said America had to avoid jumping off the “fiscal cliff” of an almost 500 billion euro combination of tax hikes and spending cuts, which will happen automatically if a deal is not reached:
“We should not hold the middle-class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the wealthy. We should at least do what we agree on, and that’s to keep middle-class taxes low. I’ll bring everyone in to sign it, right away – so we can give folks some certainty before the holiday season.”
The President was then asked for assurance that the scandal surrounding former CIA Director, General David Petraeus had not threatened national security. He replied:
“I want to emphasise that from my perspective at least, he has provided this country an extraordinary service, we are safer because of the work Dave Petraeus has done, and my main hope now is that he and his family are able to move on.”