After the markets had closed and elected Washington had headed home for the holidays, President Obama took to the White House podium early Friday evening and suggested Congress cool off over Christmas — "drink some eggnog, eat some Christmas cookies" — and then return to work and solve the fiscal cliff before it hits January 1. Obama said he'd talked to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and suggested they'd be pursuing a a less ambitious plan than a grand bargain.

Speaking a day after Boehner was unable to get enough Republican votes to prevent a tax increase on income under $1 million — the Speaker said at his own brief press conference that some lawmakers "were dealing with the perception that some might accuse them of raising taxes" — Obama seemed to suggest House Republicans should lower their expectations. "I met them halfway on taxes, and I met them more than halfway on spending," Obama said. "With their votes, the American people have determined governing is a shared responsibility between parties. That means nobody gets 100 percent of what they want."

As he closed his statement at about 5:40p.m. on the Friday before Christmas, Obama said, "Merry Christmas... and because we didn't get this done, I will see you next week."