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Obama says he is 'ready and willing' to get deal

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JIM KUHNHENN | December 21, 2012 06:33 PM EST | AP

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says he is "ready and willing" to get a big package done to deal with the "fiscal cliff" and says there's no reason not to protect middle-class Americans from tax increases.

Obama says he spoke Friday with House Speaker John Boehner and met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He says Congress should pass a plan to extend tax breaks for the middle class and extend unemployment benefits.

Obama says no one can get 100 percent of what they want and there are "real consequences" to how they deal with the across-the-board tax increases and steep spending cuts scheduled to kick in Jan. 1. Economists fear the combination could deliver a blow to the U.S. economy.