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Markets Wince at Dueling 'Cliff' Press Conferences

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner
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President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner

President Obama at his press conference Wednesday: "It is very hard for them to say yes to me…At some point, you know, they've got to take me out of it." (Read more: How Obama Would Change Social Security Payments)

That was probably the strangest comment we heard today.

This is the first time in the last several days the market has looked at the fiscal cliff negotiations and winced. It was a wince, not a howl of pain, but a negative reaction nonetheless.

After trading in a narrow range until 2pm ET, stocks moved lower and closed at the lows of the day. (Read more: Stocks End Lower as 'Cliff' Talks Turn Sour)

President Obama said Republicans had trouble saying "yes" to a deal and that they should take the deal he has offered.

A short while later the famously laconic Speaker of the House, John Boehner, gave a two-minute press conference in which he insisted he will introduce his Plan B in the House tomorrow, not even offering new counter-proposals -- then left the room without answering questions. (Read more: Boehner Challenges Obama in 'Plan B' Showdown)

The Volatility Index (VIX) is up 11 percent, near a one-month high.

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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