Obama Uses Twitter To Ramp Up Fiscal Cliff Pressure

President Obama met with middle class taxpayers on Wednesday who had written to the White House about the impact of tax hikes on their pocket books.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. As the White House searches for a breakthrough in budget negotiations, President Obama is turning to Twitter and Facebook and good old fashioned email. The president today urged ordinary Americans to contact lawmakers any way they can. The goal - to pressure congressional Republicans to make a deal, as NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: President Obama unveiled a new Twitter hashtag today - my2K. That's a reference to the $2,000 plus in additional taxes that a typical family could face next year unless lawmakers agree to extend middle class tax cuts.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: That means less money for buying groceries, less money for filling prescriptions, less money for buying diapers. It means a tougher choice between paying the rent and paying tuition, and middle class families just can't afford that right now.

HORSLEY: Mr. Obama surrounded himself with middle class families at the White House today and he urged them and others to let Congress know they're opposed to higher taxes. Many congressional Republicans have been reluctant to extend the middle class tax cuts unless taxes are also kept low for the wealthiest Americans, something Mr. Obama says the U.S. can't afford. In taking its case to the public, Mr. Obama's relying on tactics he used successfully over the last year to win an extension of the payroll tax cut and discount interest rates for student loans.

In both those cases, Republican lawmakers initially resisted, but their opposition folded in the face of public pressure.

OBAMA: The lesson is that when enough people get involved, we have a pretty good track record of actually making Congress work. And that's important because this is our biggest challenge yet.

HORSLEY: Mr. Obama also met today with a group of CEOs, including the leaders of Home Depot, Coca-Cola and Goldman Sachs, in hopes of enlisting their help in lobbying Congress. Scott Horsley, NPR News, the White House.

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