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No One Retreating; Cliff Talks Seem At Standstill

Many Republicans agree that Obama and the Democrats hold most of the political leverage, given the president's re-election more than a month ago after a campaign in which he said the wealthy should pay more in taxes.

If anything, the president has toughened his demands in recent days, insisting not only that tax rates must rise, but also that Congress give him and future presidents the authority to raise the government's borrowing limit without prior approval by lawmakers.

Boehner, while claiming his own election mandate for the Republican majority in the House, said within a few days of the voting he was prepared to buck many in his party and support additional tax revenue as part of a fiscal cliff agreement.

The Ohio Republican has said repeatedly he opposes Obama's plan to raise tax rates for anyone, adding that he prefers to raise revenue by closing loopholes. Yet he has not yet ruled out giving the president his way, and some Republicans have said they are prepared to do so â¿¿ encouraging Democrats to say they anticipate the speaker will eventually yield on the point.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters as Obama went to Michigan that "the president believes that a deal is possible. It requires acceptance and acknowledgement in a concrete way by Republicans that the top 2 percent will see an increase in their rates."

In his remarks at the Daimler Detroit Diesel Plant, Obama said the Democrats would "make some tough spending cuts on things that we don't need" as part of his budget plans, although he didn't mention any of them by name.

Republicans have increasingly expressed frustration in recent days as they accuse Obama and the Democrats of failing to talk in specifics when it comes to spending cuts that many of their constituencies are likely to balk at.

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