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Ben Nelson Bucks Obama On Bush Tax Cuts -- But Obama Won't Commit To A Veto Either

Newscom / Ron Sachs

To that end, Obama's calling on the GOP to cave. "[W]e should not hold middle class tax cuts hostage any longer," he said in Cleveland yesterday. "We are ready, this week, to give tax cuts to every American making $250,000 or less."

But he's also not prepared to threaten a veto if Congress sends him legislation extending the tax cuts for the wealthy. Obama dodged a series of questions from ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who tried to pin him down on a veto.

"[W]ill veto an extension of tax cuts to the wealthy?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"What I am saying is that if we are going to add to our deficit by $35 billion, $95 billion, $100 billion, $700 billion, if that's the Republican agenda, then I've got a whole bunch of better ways to spend that money," Obama responded.

"But you're not saying you're gonna veto it," Stephanopoulos pressed.

Obama repeated himself: "There are a whole bunch better ways to spend the money."

"How come you don't want to say veto?"

"There are a whole bunch better ways to spend the money."

Unless he commits to that veto, Republicans will have the upper hand in the legislative fight.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at