A senior spokesman for the White House told ABC News that they [the White House] wanted a fight, but Congressional Democrats “wouldn’t throw a punch”.
"We wanted a fight, the House didn't throw a punch," a senior White House official tells ABC News, pointing out that for months before the 2010 midterm elections, President Obama was making the case against the Bush tax cuts for wealthier Americans. "The House wouldn't vote before the Senate, and the Senate was afraid they'd lose a vote on it."
"It was like the Jets versus Sharks except there weren't any Jets," the official said. "Senator Schumer says he wants a fight? He couldn't hold his caucus together."
"This isn't a debate in a lab somewhere," the official continued. "People's taxes were going to go up, and then we were going to have a Senate with a slimmer margin and House under Republican control."
Another senior White House official said that under the new Congress, it was likely all the White House would have been able to get as a concession was maybe seven months of extended unemployment insurance, as opposed to the current deal -- with a payroll tax reduction, business write-offs for investments, and continued child and college tuition tax credits.
The spokesman also indicated that despite the rage coming from Democrats, this was a good deal, emphasis mine.
1) We wanted a fight on these tax cuts, and Congressional Democrats never took up the charge and held a vote;
2) This is a good deal -- and we weren't willing to let taxes go up on middle class Americans, or to deprive the unemployed of insurance benefits, just to prove a political point.
- TRANSCRIPT: President Obama’s Statement to the Press on Tax Cuts and Unemployment Benefits
- White House: We Wanted a Fight
- TRANSCRIPT: Details on Obama Tax Cut Plan
- VIDEO: Obama to Democrats .. This is a long game. Not a short game.
- VIDEO: Obama …It’s tempting not to negotiate.