Jay Carney, the White House press secretary held a briefing this afternoon in which he emphasized the administration's major point of leverage in discussions with G.O.P. leaders over the coming "fiscal cliff."
"If the house does not pass the senate bill that gives tax cuts to 98% of the American people, everyone's taxes will go up," said Carney. It will be very hard to explain for congress and the [Republican-controlled] house in particular if they did not extend tax cuts to 98% of the American people because they are holding out for millionaires and billionaires."
Up until that moment, Carney was stoic, and kept things close to the vest. He offered few other comments on the negotiations, saying he "didn't want to get into specifics" about talks between the President and John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House.
Two more nuggets from the briefing:
President Obama is "interested in meeting with Romney" in the coming days. Carney offered no hint as to why, but with many cabinet positions opening up, there will be much speculation that Romney could be offered a post. He does need a job, after all.
Asked about the ballot initiative legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington State, Carney would only say that the "Department of Justice is reviewing those ballot initiatives." The conflict between state and federal law presented by these ballot initiatives will be an ongoing story, and, should Attorney General Eric Holder be replaced for Obama's second term, all eyes will be on the new A.G.'s feelings about marijuana legalization.