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Fiscal cliff: for Obama and liberals, a wary alliance (+video)

After a White House meeting Tuesday, liberal leaders expressed confidence that President Obama would make sure fiscal remedies don't hurt middle and low-income Americans. But entitlements are still on the table.

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On Thursday, seniors groups and liberal lawmakers are planning a rally on Capitol Hill to protest any changes to entitlement programs, according to the Washington Post.

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“We will make it very clear we will not be supportive of cuts to Medicare and Social Security,” Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, told the Post. “It would be a huge shock and disappointment if the president forgot the reality that he just won a major victory.”

Obama will get a different perspective Wednesday when he meets with CEOs in the White House, including executives from Walmart, Aetna, Xerox, and American Express. White House officials have been lobbying business leaders for several months to support the president on his plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans as part of his effort to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. Economists say the automatic spending cuts and across-the-board tax hikes that would go into effect in the new year if the president and Congress don't act would send the nation back into recession.

In the White House briefing Tuesday, spokesman Jay Carney said that when the president meets with congressional leaders on Friday, he will open with his 2013 budget plan, which would reduce deficits by $4 trillion over 10 years. The proposal would raise taxes on the wealthy by $1.6 trillion, cut health-care spending by $340 billion, and continue $1.1 trillion in spending cuts already in place. The plan also counts $1 trillion in savings from the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“As a whole,” Mr. Carney said, “the plan demonstrates that we can take a balanced approach that if we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more, we can continue to invest in areas of the economy that need investment and we don't have to ask seniors, or parents of disabled children, or the least fortunate among us to bear the burden of getting our fiscal house in order.”

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