… The blame game begins.

We noted here on Friday that the bad economy is already dialed in for 2013, but that President Obama would likely seek to blame congressional Republicans and the fiscal cliff fiasco for the impending economic woes.

As expected, the finger pointing surrounding fiscal cliff negotiations has already begun. Via Yahoo! News:

The president said the American people support raising taxes on the wealthiest earners– something the Republicans have staunchly opposed as a means to generate revenue and reduce the nation’s deficit.

“At a certain point, if folks can’t say ‘yes’ to good offers, than I also have an obligation to the American people to make sure that the entire burden of deficit reduction doesn’t fall on seniors who are relying on Medicare… families who rely on Medicaid to take care of a disabled child” and middle class families, he said. “There is a basic fairness that is at stake in this whole thing.”

Obama held firm to his demands Sunday, blaming congressional Republicans for the failure to reach a deal to avoid the automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to go into effect Jan. 1.

As late as this morning, Congressional Representatives appeared confident that an ultimate deal would be reached before the country crossed the deadline. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) touched on the subject this morning on “Fox News Sunday,” where he essentially declared that Republicans had achieved none of their aims.

“What have we accomplished? Political victory for the president,” Graham said. “Hats off to the president — he stood his ground. He’s going to get tax rate increases, maybe not at [$250,000], but on upper-income Americans. And the sad news for the country is we’ve accomplished very little in not becoming Greece or getting out of debt. This deal won’t affect the debt situation. And it will be a political victory for the president, and I hope we have courage of our convictions, when it comes to raise the debt ceiling to fight what we believe as Republicans. Hats off to the president, he won.”

However, late hour troubles may have rendered Graham’s congratulatory remarks a bit premature.

With less than 36 hours before reaching the so-called fiscal cliff, talks hit what a Democratic source called a “major setback” when Republicans insisted that changes to how Social Security benefits are adjusted for inflation be included.

Using what’s known as “chained CPI” would change the way Social Security benefits are adjusted for inflation, meaning that future Social Security recipients would receive less money over time. Democrats consider this prospect a “poison pill,” the source said, and GOP senators said later it was off the table.

It now appears some Congressional members will be taking an undeserved break instead of putting any “deals” up for a vote tonight.

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It’s still not too late for Republicans to push for the Christmas strategy.