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Readers bash Obama over tax cut extension deal

President Obama on Wednesday told reporters that Democrats would come around to his position on the deal.
President Obama on Wednesday told reporters that Democrats would come around to his position on the deal.
  • Some readers express disappointment that Obama agreed to extend cuts for all
  • Obama previously said he would let the tax cuts expire for wealthier Americans
  • Critics say Obama appears weak, and that deal will add to national debt
  • Defenders: Deal necessary to help unemployed, and GOP will have to answer for rest

Washington (CNN) -- While CNN readers debate the merits of the tax cut deal that President Obama brokered with Republicans, they took shots at president from both ends of the political spectrum.

Some liberal and progressive Democrats are angry at the president for giving in to Republican demands to extending the Bush-era tax credits to all Americans instead of just those making less than making $250,000 a year and for making concessions on estate taxes in return for extending unemployment benefits.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, accepted that politics involves compromise but blasted Obama's negotiating skills.

"I honor the president for wanting to try to solve these problems, and I'm not saying that you never compromise," he said. "This is Washington. That's how laws get passed. But he and his team just don't seem to be any good at it, and that's a real problem for a lot of Democrats."

Readers also blasted Obama on his negotiating skills but piled on with criticism of his policies and for going back on campaign promises. Obama said during his 2008 election campaign that he would let the tax cuts expire for wealthier Americans at the end of this year.

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"What an about face from his election campaign, during which he said he will 'do what's right for America, not what's popular,' " wrote a reader who identified himself as "mpasmith."

"Adding half a trillion dollars to the deficit isn't what's right for America. He will be a one term President, whether this bill passes or fails. If it passes, Democrats who voted for him in 2008 will see how he caved, if it fails, Republicans will show in 2012 how they tried to compromise and Democrats wouldn't pass a bill allowing an extension in unemployment benefits.

"It's a win-win for Republicans, a lose-lose for Obama. The only way the Dems will win in 2012 is to field another candidate for President."

A reader who identified herself as "mrsfonebone" wrote that Obama got himself into this position and now appears weak not only to Republicans but to the rest of the world.

"So Obama's dreadful management skills and cronyism -- along with indifference to the things that matter to most people -- causes the losses at mid-term, so now he has to capitulate to all the Republicans who got in because of his poor performance.

"Did someone tell him his job was to improve the economy, get spending under control etc. -- not making sure Republicans are happy? They, like the rest of the world, read him for the weak 'leader' he is and so more will be sure to follow."

Another reader sarcastically congratulated the president for making a deal that included extending unemployment benefits.

"Good for the Dems and Obama," wrote a reader who called himself "Cosworth."

"Now we subsidize and finance millions of couch sitters that can sit around and do nothing for another 13 Months. The have already spent 2 years doing nothing. Time to at least require some volunteer work!"

Obama defended the deal in a brief appearance before reporters on Wednesday and said Democrats will come around to his position: "I think the more they look at it, more will say 'this makes sense.' "

Others thought the president was putting principles before politics -- that getting a deal done to get unemployment benefits to jobless Americans is the important thing now and Republicans will have to explain the costs of wider tax cuts.

"Obama cannot afford to stick to his ideological guns on tax cuts now ... the cost is just too high," wrote a reader who called himself "Kemistry."

"To agree to a temporary tax cut for the wealthy and getting unemployment benefits extended another 24 months, 120 million in middle class payroll tax cuts, etc. is not a bad deal.

"The Republicans will have a lot of explaining to do in the next 2 years for adding 800 billion to the national debt at the cost of holding the unemployed hostage."

Obama made that point during his appearance on Wednesday: "For the next two years, we're going to have a big debate about taxes," he said. "Republicans are are going to have to explain how making those tax cuts for the high end squares with their stated desire of reducing deficits and debt."

A reader who called himself "gruneun" questioned the cost of extending the the tax cuts:

"This does not "cost" the government $458 billion dollars, any more than my skipping happy hour costs the local bar money," he wrote. "This simply prevents the government from taking $458 billion dollars more in taxes from its citizens than it had hoped for.

"Anyone who's worked closely with the federal government knows that they have a lot of places to trim waste and fraud. The citizens have tightened their belt and now it's time for Uncle Sam to do likewise."

A commenter who identified himself as LuisWu warned that the costs of extending the tax cuts will have dire consequences:

"We need to pay the bills, not borrow from our children and grandchildren and China. We're paying less in taxes now than at any time in the last 60 years. When will we be fiscally responsible and pay our bills? Remember your little tax cut when Great Depression II comes along."

But a reader who identified himself as "swanie" said he was happy to be getting a break on his taxes and poked a little fun at the higher-end earners.

"No matter what happened here, people would not have been happy. If he had not compromised, people would be on here bit**ing about their taxes increasing ... me included. The only difference is that for me and a lot of America, it means I'll still be able to pay my bills.

"For the wealthy it means they don't have to choose between keeping their butler or their maid."

CNN's John Helton, Suzanne Malveaux and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report