Obama: "modestly optimistic" fiscal cliff deal can be reached

WASHINGTON, Dec 28 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama held

out hope for a last-minute agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff

of tax increases and spending cuts after a meeting with

congressional leaders, scolding Congress for leaving the problem

unresolved until the eleventh hour.

"The hour for immediate action is here," he told reporters at

the White House. "I'm modestly optimistic that an agreement can

be achieved," he said.

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