) -- President Obama signed the massive $858 billion tax cut package on Friday afternoon.

While more or less a photo-op and one last chance to sell the American public on why the tax cut package -- and the inherent concessions -- were needed, the White House event capped a huge battle over the way to stimulate the American economy as it continues to claw its way out of the recession.

President Obama smiles after signing the $858 billion tax deal Friday.

President Obama came into office pledging to end the Bush era tax cuts for the affluent, but the need to protect the tax cuts of all Americans and in particular the middle class tax cuts, led to the compromise that resulted in the $858 billion package.

Vice President Joe Biden, in introducing the President at the signing, mentioned "compromise and barter" several times, and said the tax cut package was the "result of leaders from both sides coming together to act at time when Americans need it most."

President Obama picked up right where Biden left off, noting the "wide bipartisan margin" by which the tax cut package passed.

The middle class was clearly front and center in the President's final tax cut pitch.

The President referred to the tax cut package as a "substantial victory for the middle class, who were hit hardest by the recession and need the relief right now."

President Obama said that at the heart of the bill is a bipartisan effort prompted by fact that tax rates for all Americans were set to spike and the average middle class family pay an extra $3,000 next year in taxes.

"It wouldn't have just been a blow to the middle class, but to our economy just as we are climbing out of a devastating recession, and I refuse to let that happen," the President said.

President Obama didn't seek to hide the fact that many on both sides of the aisle were unhappy with the compromise.

"Candidly speaking, there are some elements of this legislation I don't like, and that members of my party don't like, and that Republicans don't like, and that's the nature of compromise, yielding on something each of us care about so we can move forward on what all of us care about: growing the economy and creating jobs."

In the end, the President said it was a "a good deal for the American people."

President Obama ended the White House ceremony on a humorous note, saying that "there will be moments over the next few years when the holiday spirit won't be as abundant as it is today," but he stressed that when it comes to making tough choices on tackling the deficit, "I don't believe either party has cornered the market on good ideas."

-- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.

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