UPDATE IV: President Obama says differences between the two parties are "real and profound." Reiterates preference to extend tax cuts for the middle class only, and rips Republicans for intransigence. Says he's unwilling to let ordinary Americans become "collateral damage" in a political battle. Bottom line: He's taking potshots at the GOP while announcing his support for the bipartisan deal described above. His jabs at Republicans are likely designed to mollify the Left, which is on the brink of open revolt (see the "circular firing squad" links). "We have arrived at a framework....I believe this bipartisan compromise is the right thing to do...it's not perfect, but it's an essential step on the road to recovery." It was a strikingly angry and partisan speech, especially considering that its aim was to endorse a bipartisan compromise.
The president ended his remarks at 6:40pm ET, and took no questions from reporters. Now the question becomes: Do Democrats (and Republicans, for that matter) have the votes? In the next 24 hours, we'll likely witness the odd spectacle of John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi fighting to convince their caucuses to back the same plan.
UPDATE V: Supporters of this deal, beware. CNN reports Vice President Biden will head to Capitol Hill tomorrow to rally Democratic support for the plan. What could go wrong? (Paul Begala is now attacking Obama's speech, and calling early liberal reviews of the deal "tough"). NBC's Savannah Guthrie tweets that House Democrats are still emphasizing "there is no deal yet." On the Right, Hugh Hewitt is not a fan of the "so-called compromise."
UPDATE VI: Mitch McConnell reacts (favorably). Also, in a relieving development, Sen Kyl is still throwing cold water on the prospects for new START being ratified during the lame duck session. This partially allays one of my greatest concerns over the recent backroom dealings: That there may have been an unspoken quid pro quo regarding that dreadful treaty in the tax deal. Kyl's comment to NRO suggests that there is not.