London Guardian 
December 24, 2012
President Barack Obama has been accused by a senior Republican of being eager to take the US over the fiscal cliff for political gain, as Washington edges closer to a year-end deadline with no deal in sight.
Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Senator John Barrasso, the third-highest ranking senator in the GOP, suggested that the president “sensed victory at the bottom of the cliff”.
Earlier, Obama called on Congress to “cool off” over the holiday break, amid rising rhetoric on both sides. On Friday, the White House raised the prospect of settling for a stopgap measure to avert the punitive tax rises and swingeing spending cuts which are due to come in effect on 1 January. The president had previously pushed for a grand compromise to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.
But with just nine days to go until the year-end deadline, Democrats andRepublicans are seemingly still some way off from any agreement, be it to a comprehensive deal or short-term measures.