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Obama: If You Think We Can Cut Taxes For The Rich You Can't Add (VIDEO)

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"I would love to do it, anybody in elected office would love nothing more than to give everybody tax cuts ... not cut services, make sure that I'm providing help to student loans, make sure that we're keeping our roads safe and our bridges safe, make sure that we're paying for our veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan," Obama said. "At some point the numbers just don't work, so what I've said is very simple. Let's go ahead and move forward on what we agree to ... everybody would get tax relief, just up to $250,000 a year or more, and let's get the economy moving faster."

Obama added a caveat that Republicans are sure to remind him about later. "At some point in the future if we want to have discussions about further lowering tax rates, let's do so at a time when we can actually afford it," he said.

During the town hall, Obama also said voters frustrated with high unemployment are going to be upset with him no matter what he looked like. He reminded viewers that he came from humble upbringings, another theme that's going to reoccur during the fall election cycle. "My life is a testimony to the American dream," Obama said.

The president said tea party activists are "misidentifying who the culprits are" given the bad economy, and repeated that he inherited a fiscal mess that took a decade to create.

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