Open to compromise in talks on fiscal cliff: Obama

WASHINGTON Fri Nov 9, 2012 2:05pm EST

1 of 5. U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the U.S. 'Fiscal Cliff' in the East Room of the White House in Washington, November 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Friday invited congressional leaders to the White House to start negotiating a deal to prevent sharp tax hikes and spending cuts from going into effect at the end of the year and said he was "open to compromise."

"I'm open to new ideas," he said in his first White House appearance since defeating Republican Mitt Romney in Tuesday's election. "I'm committed to solving our fiscal challenges, but I refuse to accept any approach that isn't balanced." He again pushed for higher taxes for wealthier Americans.

If Congress and the administration don't act, the abrupt fiscal tightening would tip the weak economy into recession, analysts have said. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said this week unemployment could rise above 9 percent year if nothing is done to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal)

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