The Washington Times - December 9, 2012, 10:17AM

If President Obama wants to get anything done in his second term in the White House, he needs to cut a deal with House Speaker John A. Boehner on the “fiscal cliff,” Rep. Tom Cole said Sunday.

“I actually think this is a speaker at the peak of his power. The president’s going to have to deal with him,” Mr. Cole, Oklahoma Republican, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And it’s not just about this period of time — it’s about the next four years. They both need one another to succeed, but honestly, the president needs John Boehner more than John Boehner needs the president.”


Mr. Cole, an ally of the speaker who has urged hard-line Republicans in the House to accept a fiscal-cliff deal that would save most of the expiring George W. Bush-era tax cuts, said it’s time to take action.

“Tax rates are going up anyway. We’re not ‘raising’ them; that’s current law,” he said.

Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are gridlocked over negotiations to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, a package of across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect in January if lawmakers can’t make a deal on a long-term budget. 

“At the end of the month, taxes are going to go up for everybody,” Mr. Cole said. “So, let’s make sure, where we can, we save as many of those tax cuts for as many people as possible and continue to fight. It’s not waving a white flag to recognize political reality.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, appearing on the same program, seemed unmoved by her House colleague’s arguments.

“We won the House; the American people have clearly said, ‘We don’t want our taxes to go up,’” she said.

She brushed aside suggestions that Republicans are losing the public relations battle over the tax cuts.

“I quite frankly like the fact that the American people are more engaged than ever,” Mrs. Blackburn said. “The president thinks he has momentum. I think he’s running on adrenaline from the campaign.”