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Obama Dials Back Criticism of GOP, but Doesn't Hint at Fiscal Cliff Deal

Edward Linsmier/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- If President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are making any progress towards a “fiscal cliff” deal, the president didn’t hint at it Monday during his campaign-style stop in suburban Detroit.

“If Congress doesn't act soon, meaning in the next few weeks, starting on January 1, everybody's going to see their income taxes go up,” he said drawing boos from the crowd.  “It's true. You all don't like that.”

“And by the way, that's not a good hit for businesses either,” he said. “Consumer spending is going to go down. That means you got less customers. Businesses get fewer profits. They hire fewer workers. You go in a downward spiral.”

One potential sign of progress behind closed doors: Obama dialed back his criticism of Republicans compared with other recent appearances on the “cliff,” only mentioning the word “Republican” twice in the entire 23 minute speech. He made no mention of their reluctance on tax rates or demands on entitlements.

The president used his visit to a Detroit Diesel Corp. production line as an opportunity to bolster his claim to the title of “warrior for the middle class,” pushing higher taxes on the wealthy and greater investment in U.S. manufacturing.

“Here's the good news,” Obama said of the cliff’s looming impact on the middle class. “We can solve this problem. All Congress needs to do is pass a law that would prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of everybody's income. Everybody -- that means 98 percent of Americans and probably a hundred percent of you -- 97 percent of small businesses wouldn't see their income taxes go up a single dime.

“Everybody says they agree with it; let's get it done,” he said.

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