Obama defends tax deal that's been sharply criticized by Democrats

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says a deal he has struck with congressional Republicans on renewing Bush era tax cuts keeps his 2008 promise to protect the middle class from an increase in tax rates.

Appearing at a news conference, Obama said he believes "my job is to do what's right for the American people."

He said that "because of this agreement, middle class Americans won't see their taxes go up on Jan. 1."

Obama spoke amid criticism from fellow Democrats and liberal organizations who charge that he caved in to Republican demands for keeping existing tax rates intact for the wealthy. Obama vowed Tuesday to fight any long-term protection of the wealthy against higher rates.

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