President Obama met with a group of the nation's governors on Tuesday as part of his plan to drum up support for his "balanced" approach to resolving the "fiscal cliff."
The bipartisan group of governors – representing Delaware, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Utah – did not advance or embrace a specific plan for tax increases and spending cuts to resolve Washington's budget standoff. The meeting, instead, represented another piece of Mr. Obama's strategy of reaching out to elected officials, leaders of business and labor, and civic organizations in the wake of his re-election victory.
The president's near-term goal is breaking Republican resistance to raising the top tax brackets for the highest-earning Americans.
So far Republican leaders have acknowledged the need for increased tax revenue, but only from closing loopholes rather than raising top rates.
(Read More: GOP 'Cliff'' Plan: Cut Medicare and Social Security)
For that reason, the president rejected House Speaker Boehner's most recent fiscal cliff offer in an interview with Bloomberg television. But he did say that as much as $400-billion could be raised from closing loopholes, a hint that an amount that large could be combined with a partial increase in tax rates to raise the amount of revenue Mr. Obama would accept in a compromise. So far, Mr. Obama official position is that the current 33% and 35% brackets should be raised to 36% and 39.6%, respectively – the levels in the tax code during President Clinton's administration in the 1990s.
(Read More: More than 300,000 Millionaires Would Go Off 'Cliff')
(Read More: What Investors Should Do If We Go Over the 'Cliff')
—By CNBC's John Harwood; Follow him on Twitter: @JohnJHarwood