(CNSNews.com) - Is it true that President Obama hasn't met with Republican leaders in Congress since the summer? "And shouldn't he be meeting with them" to address the so-called fiscal cliff, a reporter asked White House spokesman Jay Carney on Thursday.
Carney didn't answer those questions. But he did tell reporters that "some of these disagreements will have to be resolved by the electorate, and that's the disagreement over whether or not we need to give more tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. The American people will decide that in this election."
Carney told reporters that Obama has made it clear for a long time that he will veto any bill that does not include a tax hike on the wealthiest Americans.
"The president has put forward very clear plans for how to address our fiscal challenges," Carney said. "The president supported -- and urges the House to support -- the bill that the Senate passed that extends tax cuts for 98 percent of the American people. And again, that would address some of these concerns about the fiscal cliff."
Carney said the main obstacle to achieving "significant deficit reduction" has been the "adamant refusal by Republicans, especially in the House, to accept the principle that there should be balance -- that as part of a broad deficit-reduction plan, we need to include not just spending cuts, not just entitlement reforms, but more revenue."
A reporter noted that Obama himself has lamented the political stalemate: "And so he’s asked the electorate to break the stalemate. I know you said you’re not going to lose the election, but if for some reason there was a different outcome, wouldn't that also send a different message to the President that a different approach is needed?"
Carney responded, "Well, first, I'm not going to speculate about an outcome to the election. You know my view, and that is that the President will win re-election. And he said on a number of occasions that he is confident that since the electorate will have spoken on this issue and will have endorsed the broad consensus that we need to take a balanced approach to these matters, that that will compel Congress to move in that direction. And that will help us resolve some of these issues that have been tied up in a stalemate."
Republican leaders repeatedly have accused President Obama of leadership failures: "President Obama hasn’t prodded Democratic leaders in the Senate to act on House-passed jobs bills, avert the fiscal cliff, or produce a budget," House Speaker John Boehner said in late September.
As CNSNews.com previously reported, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has warned lawmakers that the fragile recovery “could be endangered” by the combination of tax hikes and automatic spending reductions – the so-called “fiscal cliff” -- that will take place in January, if Washington does nothing to stop it.
And as for Obama's leadership role, Fox News reported that in the past six months, Obama has had only one formal meeting with the top four congressional leaders -- and only two since the beginning of the year.