The Washington Times - December 31, 2012, 02:58PM

Republicans reacted angrily to President Obama’s Monday-afternoon rally with middle-class residents, saying it seemed to them as if he was taking a victory lap for having forced them to concede on tax increases.

Mr. Obama addressed the country from a room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Monday afternoon with cheering supporters behind him and in the audience in front of him. The supporters even applauded Mr. Obama’s announcement that taxes would be going up.

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Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, called it “a cheerleading rally,” and Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said the president should work toward a deal next time that would have Republicans and Democrats in Congress, not political supporters, standing behind him.

“Congratulations on your tax-rate increase. You fought hard and won,” Mr. Graham said on the Senate floor, though he called it a “hollow victory” for the president since the deal that is taking shape does not lower spending — and in fact is likely to increase it.

Sen. Dan Coats, an Indiana Republican, said it reminded him of football players taunting their opponents.

“It’s in-your-face. It was demeaning. It was insulting. It was sad,” he said.

Mr. Obama addressed the country from a room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Monday afternoon with cheering supporters behind him and in the audience in front of him.

During his speech, Mr. Obama took stock of the victory he is on the brink of achieving in forcing the GOP to accept higher tax rates for the wealthiest.

“Just last month, Republicans in Congress said they would never agree to raise rates,” the president said.

Mr. Graham said the next fight — already looming over the debt limit — will demand different stagecraft from the president.

“The next time we meet is going to be around the debt ceiling. And the image I want is not a bunch of people behind the president clapping for him, but members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, clapping for the president,” Mr. Graham said.