The Washington Times - December 29, 2012, 01:37PM

President Obama is set to make a rare Sunday news show appearance this weekend on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the network has announced.

Mr. Obama’s sit-down with host David Gregory comes in the midst of one of the most high-stakes debates of his presidency, the ongoing showdown with Capitol Hill Republicans over the “fiscal cliff,” the automatic spending cuts and tax hikes take effect in the new year.

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The rare interview is evidence of how important the fiscal cliff fight is to the White House — the last time the president appeared on one of the Sunday morning news shows was in 2009, in the midst of the push for the health care act.

The interview may be part of the administration’s effort to seize the pubic relations initiative in the event that fiscal cliff negotiations are unsuccessful.

In a much-cited Dec. 21 Wall Street Journal report, inside sources told the paper that the president said he intends to use his upcoming inaugural address and State of the Union speech to blame Republicans for the failure to reach a deal on the cliff.

Economists have predicted the American economy will head back into a recession without a deal.