Corker: "Total dereliction of duty" on "fiscal cliff"

(CBS News) President Obama will meet today with Congressional leaders of both parties to stage a last-ditch effort at averting the imminent "fiscal cliff", which lands in four days and brings with it a host of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts.

Despite a "nation exhausted by seemingly endless fiscal cliff negotiations," CBS News Chief White House correspondent Major Garrett said, "With a meeting comes a glimmer of hope."

Sen. Bob Corker feels otherwise. 

The Tennessee Republican shared his grim forecast Friday on "CBS This Morning," calling the Friday afternoon meeting "optics to make it look like we're doing something."

Corker was choleric on the broader state of the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, scalding President Obama and Congressional leaders for a "total dereliction of duty at every level" and a "lack of courage to deal with the spending issues."

"I'm very surprised that the President has not laid out a very specific plan to deal with this," said Corker, admitting, "Candidly, Congress could have done the same. And I think the American people should be disgusted."

While Corker granted that "98 percent of the people in our country can be assured...their income taxes are going to be the same," he argued, "We here in Washington are going to hurt the American economy, we're going to hurt Americans at every level, and to me it's just a travesty that we've not been willing to deal with this issue."

And Corker did not predict much progress from today's meeting between the President and congressional leaders, predicting a "worst case scenario" in which "We'll kick the can down the road...we'll do some small deal, and we'll create another fiscal cliff to deal with this fiscal cliff."

"Again, a total lack of courage, lack of leadership," Corker insisted.

Still, some analysts remain hopeful that the imminent deadline and the specter of a very angry American public will force leaders in Washington to act swiftly as the "fiscal cliff" endgame play out in real time.

"I think we could get some form of a deal," predicted Politico's Maggie Haberman, citing "a bit of panic now on both sides" as the deadline approaches.

And if a deal does not emerge? President Obama may get the tax hikes on high earners that he's seeking, and "It is worse for Republicans in the longer term," said Haberman, "But I don't think it's great for anybody, I just don't."

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