WASHINGTON, D.C. - Before heading to his home state of Hawaii for the holidays, President Barack Obama told members of Congress to cool down, have some eggnog and Christmas cookies, and come back and make a deal.
"Nobody can get a 100 percent of what they want and this is not simply a contest between parties in terms of who looks good and who doesn't. There are real world consequences to what we do here," said Obama.
While members of the House left town, the Republican leader in the Senate reflected the gridlock in front of a fireplace.
"I am stuck here in Washington trying to prevent my fellow Kentuckians from having to shell out more money to Uncle Sam next year," said Mitch McConnell.
The president again met again with the Democratic leader Harry Reid of the Senate and House Speaker John Boehner before leaving town, but it is a wounded and weakened speaker of the House who was deserted by his fellow Republicans when he tried to extend tax rates for everyone but millionaires.
A new ABC News Washington Post Poll showed 53 percent of Americans believe Republicans need less conservative policies that are more focused on the middle class.
The halls of Congress are empty until next Thursday, leaving us closer to taxes going up and massive spending cuts taking effect unless they can make a deal.
"How we get there, God only knows," said Boehner.
The president said there is still a chance.
"So call me a hopeless optimist, but I actually still think we can get it done, and with that, I want to wish every American a Merry Christmas," said Obama.