TICK-TICK-TICK: President Barack Obama and the top Republican in Congress appeared to remain far apart in negotiations aimed at avoiding the Dec. 31 austerity measures of big tax increases for all Americans and deep spending cuts that threaten to push the nation into a new recession.
CHATTER: Obama told reporters a deal is "still a work in progress." When asked about House Speaker John Boehner's assertion that he was waiting to hear more from the president, Obama said only, "Merry Christmas." Boehner told reporters that the president is stalling on Republican demands for spending cuts as part of any deal that includes raising taxes on the wealthy.
THE OUTLOOK: Neither side has given much ground, and Boehner's exchange of proposals with Obama seemed to generate more hard feelings than progress.