President Obama on GOP "holy grail"

From today's White House press conference:

Q    If I may follow up quickly, sir, you’re describing the situation you’re in right now.  What about the last two years when it comes to your preferred option?  Was there a failure either on the part of the Democratic leadership on the Hill or here that you couldn’t preclude these wealthier cuts from going forward?


THE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me say that on the Republican side, this is their holy grail, these tax cuts for the wealthy.  This is -- seems to be their central economic doctrine.  And so, unless we had 60 votes in the Senate at any given time, it would be very hard for us to move this forward.  I have said that I would have liked to have seen a vote before the election.  I thought this was a strong position for us to take into the election, to crystallize the positions of the two parties, because I think the Democrats have better ideas.  I think our proposal to make sure that the middle class is held harmless, but that we don’t make these Bush tax cuts permanent for wealthy individuals, because it was going to cost the country at a time when we’ve got these looming deficits, that that was the better position to take.  And the American people were persuaded by that. 

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