Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

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January 14, 2013

President Obama's end-of-term press conference

(Continued)

Washington, D.C. —

 
 
 
But part of the challenge that we confront is, is that even the slightest hint of some sensible, responsible legislation in this area fans this notion that somehow, here it comes and everybody's guns are going to be taken away.  It's unfortunate, but that's the case.  And if you look at over the first four years of my administration, we’ve tried to tighten up and enforce some of the laws that were already on the books.  But it would be pretty hard to argue that somehow gun owners have had their rights infringed.
 
 
 
     Q    So you think this is an irrational fear that's driving all these people to go and stock up --
 
 
 
     THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me?
 
 
 
     Q    Do you think this is an irrational fear --
 
 
 
     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, as I said, I think it's a fear that's fanned by those who are worried about the possibility of any legislation getting out there. 
 
 
 
     Julianna Goldman.
 
 
 
     Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  I just want to come back to the debt ceiling, because in the summer of 2011, you said that you wouldn't negotiate on the debt ceiling, and you did.  Last year, you said that you wouldn't extend any of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and you did.  So as you say now that you're not going to negotiate on the debt ceiling this year, why should House Republicans take that seriously and think that if we get to the one-minute-to-midnight scenario, that you're not going to back down?
 
 
 
     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, Julianna, let's take the example of this year and the fiscal cliff.  I didn't say that I would not have any conversations at all about extending the Bush tax cuts.  What I said was we weren't going to extend Bush tax cuts for the wealthy -- and we didn't.  Now, you can argue that during the campaign I said -- I set the criteria for wealthy at $250,000 and we ended up being at $400,000.  But the fact of the matter is millionaires, billionaires are paying significantly more in taxes, just as I said.  So from the start, my concern was making sure that we had a tax code that was fair and that protected the middle class, and my biggest priority was making sure that middle-class taxes did not go up. 

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