President Obama is scheduled to make a statement on the fiscal cliff today at 1:30 PM ET. It will be one of those events with a group of middle-class Americans assembled behind him and is expected to be designed to put pressure on Congress to get a deal done. We'll post updates throughout the statement.
10:27 AM PT: The president probably won't be announcing any new deal when he speaks, but it will be interesting to see whether he focuses his remarks on a general call to action or if he pushes for a particular solution.
10:37 AM PT: I have no idea why anybody is even talking about a two-month delay in sequestration. It would be crazy for Democrats to agree to that:
10:43 AM PT: "Middle-class Americans" have taken the stage behind the president's podium, so we should be starting momentarily.
10:46 AM PT: Obama says he will address "the progress" being made in Congress today. Says negotiations have been going on to avoid tax hikes, and avoiding those tax hikes have been his top priority. "Today it appears that an agreement to prevent this New Year's Tax Hike is within sight, but it's not done."
10:47 AM PT: Obama says he wants to "emphasize to Congress" so that "members of both parties" remember this is an important issue "all across America."
10:48 AM PT: Obama is starting to make the case for the deal, which he says isn't done yet. Very, very weird seeing him advocate a deal that he says isn't complete. Almost makes it seem like the deal actually is complete.
10:48 AM PT: Now Obama is talking about solving deficit problems "in stages."
10:49 AM PT: So far, most of the stuff Obama is saying about the deal is designed to appeal to the political left.
10:50 AM PT: Now Obama is shifting to a discussion of the sequester's automatic spending cuts. "That is a piece of business that still needs to be taken care of." But at least so far, it's not clear if he's saying they need to be dealt with today or not.
10:51 AM PT: Here's what I'm not understanding: what, exactly, did Democrats get by agreeing to a higher threshold for tax rates? Based on what I'm hearing from the president, it seems like the answer is "nothing."
10:53 AM PT: This speech is not a speech to Republicans. It's a speech to Democrats. Which presumably means the president thinks he has a deal done and now must rally his base around the deal.
10:55 AM PT: Cheer up. Next time will be different!
10:57 AM PT: Predictably, Republicans respond with outrage to the president's speech, although I have to say, I have no idea what speech they were watching: