WHITE HOUSE —
President Barack Obama declared victory Tuesday night in what he called "the central promise" of his presidency -- changing a tax code skewed in favor of the wealthy.
Obama thanked leaders from both parties in both houses of Congress, and Vice President Joe Biden, for getting a bill passed to stop big tax increases and government spending cuts.
“The sum total of all the budget agreements we have reached so far proves that there is a path forward -- that it is possible, if we focus, not on our politics, but on what is right for the country,” the president said.
Obama campaigned for re-election on a promise to preserve tax breaks for the middle class but not the rich. He said the nation's deficit is still too high, but he will not negotiate with Congress over another increase in the nation’s borrowing limit.
"The consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic -- far worse than the impact of a fiscal cliff," the president said.
Obama emphasized that the deficit needs to be reduced in a way that is "balanced," a goal he said will remain in place as long as he is president.