WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says raising taxes on wealthiest Americans must be part of deficit reduction plan but says he is "open to compromise" and "new ideas." Obama says he will refuse to accept any approach that "isn't balanced."
Obama says in his first public comments since the election that Congress should pass a bill that would prevent Bush-era tax cuts from expiring for all but the wealthiest Americans. He says lawmakers from both parties need to work together to tackle the nation's fiscal problems.
The president says he is inviting congressional leaders of both parties to the White House next week for talks on how to avoid the fiscal cliff. Lawmakers face a Jan. 2 deadline to reach an agreement.
The president, speaking before a group of middle class Americans in the White House East Room, said he wasn't wedded to every detail of the plans he outlined during the election, adding, "I'm open to compromise." But he offered no indication that he was willing to back down on his insistence that the wealthy pay more.
Obama said he had invited congressional leaders of both parties to the White House next week to start negotiations on averting the "fiscal cliff" tax increases and automatic spending cuts due to hit in January that both parties agree could cripple the economy.
Republicans, as they did throughout the past four years, say raising tax rates on wealthier Americans is a non-starter. Obama has given in to them on the matter before, but his aides believe he has earned a mandate on the issue through his re-election victory.