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Post Show Thoughts: Inside the Fiscal Cliff Debate

Twenty-two days until the fiscal cliff deadline and it still seems as if both sides are holding firm on their positions. Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy charged the president with not being responsive in negotiations. "Ask the president to come off the campaign trail," McCarthy pressed to Senator Durbin, "It's now time to govern. The election is over."

There are sticking points on both sides: For Republicans, raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, and for Democrats, where to cut spending and how to handle entitlements. Senator Durbin was clear this morning that he does not think Medicare should be on the table in the fiscal cliff negotiations. 

"I just don't think we can do it in a matter of days here before the end of the year," Durbin said. "We need to address [Medicare] in a thoughtful way through the committee structure after the first of the year."

Some Republicans (like former presidential contender Rick Santorum said in our PRESS Pass interview) argue that the president wants to go over the fiscal cliff so he can place blame on Republicans in Congress. However, as both Helene Cooper and Bob Woodward pointed out on our roundtable, that strategy may not be the best decision for the president over the long haul. 

"Presidents own recessions," Woodward said. 

You can watch the entire program on our website to hear more from our roundtable; including the 2016 buzz around outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a lively exchange between Newt Gingrich and Lawrence O'Donnell on the Clinton-era tax levels.

We'll be back next week. If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.