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Obama, Boehner meet in fiscal cliff talks

Published on Dec 14, 2012 8:37 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner held surprise talks on Thursday, as time ran short for hopes of a pre-Christmas deal to solve a fiscal crisis that could cause a recession.

The rivals met at the White House, for 50 minutes, for the first time since Sunday, but there was little sign of progress between them on efforts to defuse an end-of-year time bomb of tax hikes and huge spending cuts.

"The president and speaker had a frank meeting in the Oval Office tonight. There will be no further readout of the meeting, but lines of communication remain open," said Mr Boehner's spokesman Brendan Buck.

White House aides were similarly opaque about the talks, which included Mr Obama's Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, a key player in efforts to reach a deal, and came as Democrats again demanded tax hikes on the rich and Republicans held out for draconian spending cuts.

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