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December 28th, 2012
07:25 AM ET

National Journal Editorial Director Ron Brownstein talks fiscal cliff: 'we are looking at a divided government'

The U.S. is just four days away from falling over the fiscal cliff. Lawmakers in Washington have had quite a long time to cut a deal to avoid it, but there is still no deal in sight. Maybe that could change today, when president Obama holds a meeting with all four congressional leaders at the white house. Here to weigh the odds is Ron Brownstein, CNN Senior Political Analyst and Editorial Director for The National Journal.

Brownstein says the fiscal cliff standoff “is really indicative of a broader problem we face of a red coalition and blue coalition that are very different, that reflect very different visions of America and are showing less and less willingness to sort of accommodate the other.” He says, “The reality is we are looking at a divided government for the next two years, and most likely the next four years. If they can't make an agreement on this, with all of the pressure that the fiscal cliff implies, how are going to make progress on anything else?”

He also comments on the big White House meeting and whether a leader will emerge who can control his or her party. “I think democrats by and large would follow the president,” he says. “I think that that is clear. It is very unclear whether Republican leaders can control their caucus, especially in the House."

He also believes that there are only two options in terms of avoiding the fiscal cliff. “Either we are going to go over the cliff, which now seems more likely. Or John Boehner has to bring a bill to the floor that will be supported primarily by Democrats and opposed by a majority of House Republicans. Because I do not believe that these two Venn diagrams overlap.”

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