Clinton tells Dems to back tax-cut deal
WASHINGTON (AP) – Bill Clinton implored Democrats to back the tax-cut deal that President Barack Obama negotiated with Republicans as the former president made a surprise appearance with Obama in the White House briefing room Friday – and later took over the podium.
“I don’t believe there is a better deal out there,” Clinton told reporters who’d been summoned at a moment’s notice to see the former chief executive back the current one. Clinton and Obama had just finished a private meeting in the Oval Office.
Obama said it was a “terrific meeting” and then yielded to Clinton. The voluble former president took it away, and Obama left part-way through his remarks, saying he had holiday parties to attend. Clinton not only provided an economic tutorial but riffed on several topics, including the need for the Senate to ratify a U.S.-Russia nuclear treaty.
“Both sides are going to have to eat some things they don’t like,” Clinton told reporters about the tax deal. “We don’t want to slip back into a recession. We’ve got to keep this thing going and accelerate its pace. I think this is the best available option.”
The pact would extend cuts in income tax rates for all earners that would otherwise expire next month, renew long-term jobless benefits and trim Social Security taxes for one year. A number of liberal Democrats say it gives away too much to Republicans, and a provision that’s particularly irksome to Democrats cuts estate taxes for the wealthiest Americans.