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Article updated: 12/28/2012 8:04 PM

Last ditch effort to avoid fiscal cliff under way

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President Barack Obama speaks Friday to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington after meeting with Congressional leaders regarding the fiscal cliff.

Associated Press

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, walks Thursday to the Senate floor on Capitol Hill.

Associated Press

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The end game at hand, the White House and Senate leaders launched a final attempt at compromise Friday night in hopes of preventing a toxic blend of middle-class tax increases and spending cuts from taking effect at the turn of the new year. "I am hopeful and optimistic" of reaching an agreement after months of gridlock, the Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said after a meeting with President Barack Obama.
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    • President Barack Obama speaks Friday to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington after meeting with Congressional leaders regarding the fiscal cliff.
    • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, walks Thursday to the Senate floor on Capitol Hill.
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