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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday pushed for his proposal to have the wealthy pay more in taxes as a way to tame the federal deficit, taking a hard line in his opening bid before he begins fiscal talks with U.S. lawmakers later in the week.

"We should not hold the middle class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the wealthy," Obama said in his first press conference since winning re-election on November 6.

Obama also said he was encouraged some Republicans have agreed to raising new revenues.

With the presidential election over, Obama's talks with lawmakers begin in earnest on Friday when he meets with Senate and House leaders.

(Reporting By Kim Dixon; Editing by Sandra Maler)