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Obama: "Fiscal cliff" would be "a Scrooge Christmas"

Hatfield, Pa. Shifting the arguments for his tax cut plan into holiday mode, President Obama said Friday it would be "like a lump of coal you get for Christmas," if Congress doesn't act to extend middle class tax cuts on his terms.


"That's a Scrooge Christmas," said Mr. Obama of the possibility that Americans will have to pay more in income taxes starting January 1.

Addressing workers at the Rodon Group factory that makes Tinkertoy, Lincoln Logs and K'nex Angry Birds building sets, the president again accused "just a handful of Republicans in Congress" of holding middle class tax cuts hostage "simply because they don't want tax rates on upper income folks to go up."

But Republicans can make the same "hostage" charge against Mr. Obama since the White House says he will refuse to sign any tax cut bill that doesn't include a higher tax rate for the top 2 percent.

Under the president's plan, the top 2 percent of taxpayers would pay a higher rate on income over $250,000 - which Boehner and other Republicans have said is unacceptable.

"There's a stalemate," said Boehner Friday of the irreconcilable differences on the tax cut and other "fiscal cliff" proposals.. "Let's not kid ourselves," he said.

But Mr. Obama remained hopeful that "if we can get a few House Republicans on board," he can get the tax cut bill he wants.

While he refuses to compromise on this issue, he wants House Republicans to give in. But back in Washington, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was adamant it won't happen.

"We want to get people back to work," said Cantor Friday, "which is why again we take the position that raising tax rates is absolutely not something that helps get people back to work "

The president took his tax cut pitch here to a state and county he won handily earlier this month in his re-election bid. He won Pennsylvania 52.1 percent to 46.7 percent. And he won Montgomery County, where this toy company is located, 56.6 percent to 42.3 percent.

And even though the president's tax cut plan would mean a higher tax rate for Michael Araten, President and CEO of K'NEX toy company, he says it'll be good for his business.

"It will cost us a lot more money if demand is taken out of the system," Araten told reporters. "If you lose $200 billion of discretionary spending from the American economy, that is going to hurt businesses a lot more than the incremental three percent I might pay more on my taxes."

Mr. Obama made it clear he won't give up pursuit of his plan.

"In Washington's nothing's easy," he told his audience at the toy company. "So there's gonna be some prolonged negotiations and all of us are gonna have to get out of our comfort zones to make that happen."

"I'm willing to do that," said Mr. Obama. "I hope some members of Congress in both parties are willing to do that as well."

He again urged like-minded Americans to write, phone and tweet their members of Congress to go along with the president's plan.