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'Fiscal cliff' meeting at White House: Will it be 'Lincoln' moment for Obama?

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For what it’s worth, Obama is winning the fiscal cliff battle in public opinion polls. A Gallup poll released this week finds that 54 percent of Americans approve of his handling of the fiscal cliff negotiations, compared with 26 percent who back the Republican leaders. While most Americans had been confident that Congress would resolve the fiscal cliff by Jan. 1, that confidence level dropped this week to just 50 percent.

"Blunt's remarks show how intractable this situation is. The GOP doesn't want to take the blame for proposing anything, and instead wants to blame the White House for not doing the same," says longtime congressional budget analyst Stan Collender,a partner at Qorvis Communications in Washington, in an e-mail.

"The White House sees no reason to bail out the GOP, whose approval rating is in the 20s while the president's is in the 50s," he adds.

Until Friday, bipartisan negotiations over the fiscal cliff have mainly involved the president and House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio, who was forced to pull his fallback “Plan B” from a floor vote last week after protests in GOP ranks. Friday’s meeting will also include Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada, minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky, and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D) of California, along with Vice President Biden.

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