Obama: Voters Reelected Me to Make Sure Wealthy Pay More Taxes

By Patrick Burke | November 14, 2012 | 3:46 PM EST

President Barack Obama answers a question during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(CNSNews.com) -- President Barack Obama said the American people “understood what they were getting” when re-electing him to a second term, adding that his “guiding principle” will be to make sure wealthy Americans are paying their fair share in taxes over the next four years.

At a White House press conference on Wednesday, NBC’s Chcuk Todd asked Obama, “Tax rates. Is there no deal at the end of the year if the tax rates for the top 2 percent aren’t the Clinton tax rates period, no ifs, ands or buts? And any room in negotiating on that specific aspect of the fiscal cliff?”

Obama said, “With respect to the tax rates, I just want to emphasize I am open  to new ideas if the Republican counterparts or some Democrats have an idea to raise revenue, maintain progressivity, make sure the middle class isn’t getting hit, reduces our deficit, encourages growth. I’m not just going to slam the door in their face, I want to hear ideas from everybody.”

When Todd pressed further on the idea of a red line, Obama replied, “I’m less concerned about red lines per se. What I’m concerned about is not finding ourselves in a situation where the wealthy aren’t paying more or aren’t paying as much as they should. Middle-class families, one way or another, are making up the difference -- that’s the kind of status quo that has been going on here too long and that’s exactly what I argued against during this campaign.”

“And if there’s one thing that I’m pretty confident about is the American people understood what they were getting when they gave me this incredible privilege of being in office for another 4 years,” he said.

Obama claimed that middle-class families who voted for him were making sure that “folks at the top are doing their fair share.”

“They want compromise, they wanted action but they also want to make sure that middle-class folks aren’t bearing the entire burden and sacrifice when it comes to these big challenges,” said Obama. “They expect that folks at the top are doing their fair share as well, and that’s going to be my guiding principle during these negotiations but, more importantly, during the next 4 years of my administration.”