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Nutter's still got Obama's back

Campaign 2012 may be over, but Mayor Nutter is still boosting for President Obama.

On Monday, Nutter led a media conference call with several Democratic mayors from Pennsylvania on the biggest issue facing the Obama White House's second act: the so-called fiscal cliff, a slew of painful spending cuts and steep tax increases that are slated to take effect with the New Year -- unless Congress and Obama find a way to avoid them.

Nutter, who was a prominent surrogate for the president's re-election bid, said the deal to avert going over the cliff must include tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, a key Obama campaign promise.

"Millionaires and billionaires, folks who can afford to pay a little more, should," Nutter said, echoing the president's stump speech, almost to the word. "The president is holding out on the right principles and the right ideas."

Obama, meanwhile, took his case back to the trail as well on Monday, giving a campaign-style speech in Michigan about the cliff.

The sharpest divide in negotiations between the president and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is how to deal with the expiration of federal income-tax cuts first enacted by George W. Bush.

Boehner wants to see them all extended. Obama is pushing to extend them for everyone except those taxpayers in the wealthiest brackets: individuals making more than $200,000 per year, and families pulling in more than $250,000.

Aside from tax increases, a failure to reach a deal would trigger automatic across-the-board spending cuts of 8 percent on non-defense departments and of 9 percent for defense programs.
Nutter said those cuts would cripple Philadelphia.

"It is almost impossible for us to absorb these cuts at the levels that we're talking about," Nutter said.

The call was organized by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, which said it did not do so at the request of the Obama administration or campaign.

Other mayors on the call included Ed Pawlowski of Allentown, Vaughn Spencer of Reading and C. Kim Bracey of York, all Democrats.