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Obama Was Right: Public Didn't Want to Keep All Tax Cuts

In explaining Tuesday why he made a deal with Republicans on tax cuts that includes cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which he opposes, President Obama said at his news conference, "This is not a situation in which I have failed to persuade the American people of the rightness of our position." The Pew Research Center confirms that on that, at least, Obama was right.

Pew reported on Tuesday, "In a survey conducted before Obama and GOP leaders agreed to temporarily extend all Bush-era tax cuts, most Americans (80%) favor preserving at least some of the tax cuts. However, just a third (33%) of Americans say they favor keeping all of the expiring tax cuts; 47% favor keeping just the tax cuts for income below $250,000, while just 11% want to end all of the tax cuts.

"Only about one-in-five Democrats (18%) favor keeping all of the tax cuts, compared with 33% of independents and 53% of Republicans.

Pew also said: "The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Dec. 1-5 among 1,500 adults, finds that 45% approve of Obama’s job performance while about as many (43%) disapprove. Obama’s job ratings have changed little since September.


"Obama’s job approval ratings among Democrats remain strong (77% approve), and there is little evidence that Democrats think he is going along too much with GOP leaders in Congress. Only about [a] quarter of Democrats (23%) say he is going along too much, while about twice as many (48%) say he is going along the right amount.

"However, Obama gets mixed ratings from Democrats and Democratic leaners for how well he stands up for his party’s traditional positions on such issues as protecting the interests of minorities, helping the poor and needy and representing working people. Only about half of Democrats and Democratic leaners (54%) say Obama is doing an excellent or good job of advocating the party’s traditional positions, while 43% say he is doing only fair or poor. White Democrats and Democratic leaners are divided over Obama’s performance in standing up for the party’s traditional positions in these areas (51% excellent/good vs. 47% only fair/poor). By contrast, black Democrats and leaners offer much more positive assessments (70% vs. 29%)."

In the words of David Kocieniewski of the New York Times, "The deal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for two years includes a bevy of additional credits and deductions that will reduce the burden on nearly all households.


"But the tax benefits will flow most heavily to the highest earners, just as the original cuts did when they were passed in 2001 and 2003. At least a quarter of the tax savings will go to the wealthiest 1 percent of the population."

Obama said at his news conference, "We weren’t operating from a position of political weakness with respect to public opinion. The problem is that Republicans feel that this is the single most important thing that they have to fight for as a party. And in light of that, it was going to be a protracted battle and they would have a stronger position next year than they do currently."


Daytime Anchor Tony Harris Out at CNN

Tony Harris, who anchors the 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ET) edition of "CNN Newsroom" each weekday, is leaving the network, CNN confirmed Wednesday. Spokeswoman Christal Jones would not elaborate.

Harris was on vacation. "I've got some time off starting Monday," he wrote on his Twitter account on Saturday. TV Newser said Tuesday it had learned that Harris was leaving CNN.


Harris was one of four anchors — Heidi Collins, Kyra Phillips and Don Lemon were the others — tapped for "CNN Newsroom" in 2006. Harris joined CNN/U.S. as a weekend news anchor in September 2004. Before his arrival there, Harris was an anchor for WGCL-46 in Atlanta, where he anchored the station’s evening newscasts, according to his bio.