Graham: ‘Hats Off to the President, He Won’

Sunday, 30 Dec 2012 11:37 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that chances for a small "fiscal Cliff" deal in the next 48 hours were "exceedingly good" and that President Barack Obama had won.

"I think people don't want to go over the cliff if we can avoid it," Graham said on Fox News Sunday.

But Graham stressed that Republicans must hold firm on the debt ceiling.

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"This deal won't affect the debt situation, it will be a political victory for the president and I hope we'll have the courage of our convictions when it comes time to raise the debt ceiling to fight for what we believe as Republicans, but hats off to the president, he won," Graham said. “He stood his ground. He’s going to get tax-rate increases.”

Graham’s comments represent a blunt assessment of the political environment on Capitol Hill now less than 48 hours before massive spending cuts and tax increases on most Americans go into effect on Jan. 1.

He also said that he’ll likely vote for a deal to avoid the cliff “even if I won’t like it,” stressing that GOP support for a compromise measure in the Senate will make it far easier for House Speaker John A. Boehner to rally his troops, something he was unable to do when promoting his “Plan B” solution to the fiscal cliff crisis.

As for specifics, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, said she and other Democrats would be willing to compromise on the income limit for tax increases. Most Democrats, along with Obama, have in the past drawn the line at $250,000, but Feinstein and others — including the president — have bent on that figure in an effort to attract Republican support.

“What makes this government work is compromise. I could certainly live with it,” she said, also appearing on “Fox News Sunday.”

Reuters and The Washington Times contributed to this article.

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