Nightly News | December 04, 2012
>>> good evening, if you want to know how broken, how partisan our congress and government has become, all you need to look at is this one day in washington, where tonight we're no closer to compromise on a deal to avoid that so-called fiscal cliff. and where today in the senate chamber, when a big vote was on the line, there was a big emotional moment. bob dole , one of the lions of the senate in the modern era appeared in the chamber, a visual powerful reminder of a time when lawmakers got along and compromised and made laws. but there was no such outcome today. senator john kerry called this one of the saddest days he's seen in close to three decades in the u.s. senate . we have two reports to start off with tonight, beginning with the financial deadline looming for the entire country, white house correspondent kristen welker starts us off with that, good evening.
>> reporter: in an interview today, president obama suggested that more urgent than sitting down with john boehner right now is convincing republicans to increase rates on the wealthiest americans . republicans say they have delivered their best offer and now the ball is in the president's court. a day after republicans put their plan on the table, president obama rejected it outright in his first television interview since being re-elected.
>> unfortunately, the speaker's proposal right now is still out of balance.
>> the main sticking point continues to be taxes. the president wants to increase rates on those making more than $250,000 as a part of his plan to raise 1$1.6 trillion over 10 years. house speaker john boehner is calling for half that amount.
>> when you look at the math, it doesn't work. we're going to have to see the rates on the top two% go up. and we're not going to be able to get a deal without it.
>> mr. obama did not specify if the rates had to go all the way up to their clinton era levels. and he suggested wiggle room to lower rates next year as part of a comprehensive tax reform .
>> it's possible we may be able to lower rates by broaden the base at that point.
>> reporter: republican leaders say they won't budge on race, arguing their deal represents compromise, noting it has even some loyal conservatives.
>> we have wasted time sparring back and forth in public. it strikes me it's a good time to get serious about the proposals.
>> reporter: the president also continued his pr offensive by welcoming a bipartisan group of governors to the white house . the group which also met with republicans didn't endorse either side's plan, but did agree on one thing.
>> the uncertainty that's out there lingering, that's creating havoc with our economy and our states --
>> reporter: a new washington post pew research poll found that 53% of the americans would blame the republicans if the country would careen off the cliff.
>> i think the offer from the president was ridiculous. i think the offer from the republicans was equally ridiculous.
>> and there you have it, another sign of this dysfunction. house speaker boehner attended the congressional holiday party at the white house last night. and avoided the receiving line to greet the president. officials tell me there are discussions going on behind the scenes , but right now, very little progress to show for it. brian?
>> kristen welker on the white