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President Obama takes question at a news conference
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10:56 AM PT: Chuck Todd asks the fourth question. First, he wants to know if the president is withholding judgment about the timeline of when he was notified about Petraeus. Obama's answer boils down to "yes."

10:58 AM PT: Chuck Todd's second question is whether he's drawn a line in the sand about ending the tax cuts for the top two percent by the end of the year. Obama says he wants to keep an open mind about everything, but that he won't agree to a vague process or a process that depends on dynamic scoring to show revenue growth. So he's saying he is flexible on how to achieve the goal of raising taxes on the top two percent, but isn't drawing a final red line about accomplishing that simply by extending tax rates on all but the top marginal bracket.

10:59 AM PT: Now the question is: Has President Obama reached out to Mitt Romney to involve him in the process of governing during the second term?

10:59 AM PT: Alas, Obama doesn't give the answer that I wish he had: "Sorry, I tried calling the governor, but the Cayman Islands doesn't list his number."

11:00 AM PT: Instead, he talks about what a great job Romney did in running the Olympics. And he says he'll look to see if there are some ways he could potentially work with Romney. Which of course is what he has to say. Such a stupid question, really.

11:02 AM PT: Okay, since we're in dumb question time, can I just take a moment to reflect on how nice it is to see President Obama doing a press conference knowing that he's been elected to a second term. Ah, what a relief. Now, back to your regularly scheduled griping and snark.

11:03 AM PT: ABC's Jon Karl wants to know if Obama would hypothetically continue forward with a hypothetical nomination of Susan Rice if Republicans hypothetically promised to hypothetically reject it.

11:06 AM PT: Obama: I don't comment on hypotheticals, but Susan Rice rocks. "If Senators McCain and Graham want to go after somebody, they should go after me." It's "outrageous" for them to "besmirch" her reputation. Rice was doing what the White House asked, he says.

11:07 AM PT: "If I think she would be the best person to serve American in the capacity of the State Department, then I will nominate her. That's not a determination I've made yet."

11:07 AM PT: Ed Henry asks Obama if he has a mandate, and also did Obama do anything to save the lives of the people who died in Benghazi. Obama: "If people don't think we did everything we could ... then [they] don't know how our Defense Department thinks or our State Department thinks or our CIA thinks."

11:07 AM PT: "Immediately upon finding out that our folks were in orders were to do whatever we need to do to make sure our folks stay safe."

11:09 AM PT: "I've got one mandate: a mandate to help middle-class families and families that are trying to make their way into the middle-class."

11:09 AM PT: Obama says he's wary of second-term overreach, but that he didn't get reelected just to "bask" in the glow of victory.

11:12 AM PT: Obama says the Hurricane Sandy response is a good metaphor for what he wants to see government do—aggressively helping people who need help. He doesn't mean to say government should always focus on fighting fires—but just that government's job is to help the American public.

11:15 AM PT (Kaili Joy Gray): New thread here.

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