Obama to make statement on economy Friday

WASHINGTON Thu Nov 8, 2012 7:05pm EST

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures onstage during his election night victory rally in Chicago November 7, 2012. Beside Obama are Vice President Joe Biden (2nd R) and Biden's wife Jill Biden. REUTERS/Jason Reed

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures onstage during his election night victory rally in Chicago November 7, 2012. Beside Obama are Vice President Joe Biden (2nd R) and Biden's wife Jill Biden.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Newly re-elected President Barack Obama will make a statement on the economy on Friday, the White House said, setting the stage for a showdown with congressional Republicans over contentious tax and spending issues.

The president is likely to discuss looming tax increases and government spending cuts - the so-called fiscal cliff - that would go into effect early next year unless Congress acts to prevent them. He is due to make the statement from the East Room of the White House at 1:05 p.m. (1805 GMT).

Obama, who defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney on Tuesday in a race in which the two candidates offered different visions for jump-starting the sluggish economy, is not expected to put forward a new or specific plan.

Instead, he is more likely to urge Congress to tackle the fiscal cliff and try to cut the massive U.S. budget deficit. Analysts have said that if left unaddressed, the abrupt fiscal tightening would knock the economy back into recession.

Congressional Republicans have already begun to stake out their position on ways to spare the already modest economic recovery from a fiscal shock. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner is scheduled to hold a news conference earlier on Friday.

The president's advisers told reporters earlier on Thursday that dealing with the fiscal cliff would be an immediate priority. The administration sees Obama's re-election an endorsement of his position that affluent Americans should see their taxes rise, they said.

"One of the messages that was sent by the American people throughout this campaign is ... (they) clearly chose the president's view of making sure that the wealthiest Americans are asked to do a little bit more in the context of reducing our deficit in a balanced way," senior White House adviser David Plouffe said.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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