Aide: Tax deal triumph of Obama pragmatism

Dec. 26, 2010 at 2:14 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama's closet adviser said Sunday he is the same "pragmatist" she has long known.

Interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press," White House counselor Valerie Jarrett said, "The president that we are seeing now is the same person that I've known for over 20 years. When the president was in the (Illinois) state Senate, he had a reputation for being able to work very closely with people on the other side of the aisle and forge that compromise that's pragmatic. He never lets the perfect be the enemy of the good."

Jarrett said the tax compromise was such a case.

"What the president said was most important to him," she said, "was not to raise taxes on the middle class, was to make sure that those who were unemployed had 13 months of benefits. Those are the ones who are going to go out, they're going to pay their rent, they're going to buy groceries. ... That's going to grow the economy and create jobs."

But she added, "There are certain things the president won't compromise. So for example the Republicans wanted the high income tax cuts to be permanent. And what the president said, is no, we can't afford it."

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