Administration officials from Obama on down say it'll take money from raising tax rates on the rich â¿¿ instead of GOP proposals to simply curb their deductions â¿¿ to win Obama's approval of any plan to avoid the "fiscal cliff."

Boehner's plan, which was signed by other House Republican leaders including recent vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, drew a sharp dismissal from Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, a leader of tea party conservatives in Congress.

"Speaker Boehner's $800 billion tax hike will destroy American jobs and allow politicians in Washington to spend even more, while not reducing our $16 trillion debt by a single penny," DeMint said.

It has been nearly a week since Obama and Boehner talked directly about the looming cliff, though their staffs have been in contact. Boehner attended a congressional holiday party at the White House Monday night, but avoided the photo line where members get their picture taken with the president and have a few minutes to talk.

Obama met with a bipartisan group of governors, who sought assurances that any cuts in spending as part of an agreement on the fiscal cliff wouldn't shift the burden onto states. The governors said they wanted flexibility from the federal government on certain mandated programs like Medicaid to allow them to do more with less.

"We asked for flexibility on how the federal money is passed down to the states and the cuts that are passed down, that we could have some flexibility to do what's in the best interest of our states," said Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican.

The governors said they were not endorsing any particular proposal but said they wanted to share their ideas on ways that states could play a role in helping reduce the deficit. The governors were meeting later in the day with congressional leaders and said they planned to work with Vice President Joe Biden in the coming weeks.

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