WASHINGTON -- President Obama said Friday he is asking the bipartisan leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives to come to the White House next week to begin negotiations to avert a set of tax increases and spending cuts that will automatically take effect in January if Congress fails to act.

Speaking in the East Room of the White House in his first public remarks since winning reelection on Tuesday, Obama's tone was both conciliatory and defiant as he pledged to work in good faith with his congressional opponents while remaining adamant that taxes for the highest-earning Americans must increase alongside spending reductions.

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