President Obama gave a strange, freewheeling speech/press conference today to update the nation on the state of fiscal cliff talks. "Today, it appears that an agreement to prevent this New Year's tax hike is within sight," Obama said. "But it's not done." He said that the deal at this point was focused only on taxes, even though he'd hoped for a larger "grand bargain"-style deal. "With this Congress, that was obviously a little too much to hope for."
He described preventing the tax hike as "a modest goal" that Congress could accomplish. "They are close but they're not there yet. And one thing we can count on with respect to this congress, is that if there's even one second left before you have to do what you're supposed to do, they will use that last second." Those kinds of jokes typified the session—as Guardian editor Heidi Moore quipped, "Obama is not holding a press conference so much as he is doing a little stand-up." At the Wall Street Journal, Peter Nicholas writes that the press conference was intended to show Congress that Obama's positions enjoy public support. Indeed, he asked the public to keep the pressure on Congress. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)