White House, Lawmakers: Fiscal Talks 'Constructive'

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The White House and congressional leaders emerged from the first round of talks on the "fiscal cliff" with at least the sketches of a compromise.

While far from a deal, both sides seemed confident an agreement would be reached before the Jan. 1 deadline when a series of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes will take effect.

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner represented their parties in the discussions.

"The President and the leadership had a constructive meeting and agreed to do everything possible to find a solution that averts the so-called "fiscal cliff," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Friday.

"I outlined a framework that deals with reforming our tax code and reforming our spending," that's "consistent with the president's call for a fair and balanced approach," House Speaker John Boehner said.

The president is trying to avoid rattling financial markets and stocks have been selling off since the day after the president was re- elected. They've hit their lowest level in four months.

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