Obama Tackles Economy amid Libya Controversy

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Despite a sex scandal involving former CIA Director David Petraeus and lingering questions about the 9/11 Benghazi attack, President Obama spent most of his first post-re-election news conference talking about the economy and jobs.

Speaking to reporters in the White House East Room Wednesday, the president talked of his plans to raise taxes on wealthy Americans in his second term.

"What I have told leaders privately as well as publicly is that we cannot afford to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy," Obama said.

He went on address the so-called "fiscal cliff," which is scheduled to kick in at the end of the year.

"What we can do is make sure that middle class taxes don't go up," he said.

The president also offered his ideas to get the economy moving again.

"And so the most important step we can take right now, and, I think, the foundation for a deal that helps the economy, creates jobs, gives consumers certainty, which means gives businesses confidence that they're going to have consumers during the holiday season, is if we right away say 98 percent of Americans are not going to see their taxes go up; 97 percent of small businesses are not going to see their taxes go up," the president said.

"If we get that in place, we are actually removing half of the fiscal cliff," he said. "Half of the danger to our economy is removed by that single step.

The president's critics took issue with his claims, pointing out that an even bigger economic threat is looming: Obamacare.

They say even the Supreme Court ruled that his healthcare law will raise taxes on many average Americans once it kicks in.

After the press conference the president met with business leaders. His goal is to get the business community on board to pressure Congress to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire on America's top earners.

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CBN News
Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.