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President Warns of Economic Woes Without Payroll Tax Cut Extension

Obama Waving Air Force One

Oct. 11, 2011: President Obama waves as he boards Air Force One to depart for a trip to Pennsylvania and Florida. (Reuters)

On the attack, President Barack Obama warned Wednesday of a "massive blow to the economy" if Republicans oppose him over extending a payroll tax cut, as he campaigned for more money in the pockets of U.S. workers -- and in his campaign treasury.

Obama pressed his case at a campaign-style rally in working-class Scranton, Pa., where he said Republicans had to choose between lower taxes for the wealthy, or a payroll tax cut that would help working Americans.

"Are you going to cut taxes for the middle class and those who are trying to get into the middle class or are you going to protect massive tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires?" he said. "Are you going to ask a few hundred thousand people who have done very, very well to do their fair share or are you going to raise taxes for hundreds of millions of people across the country?"

Obama was traveling later Wednesday to donor-rich New York City to raise money for his already flush re-election bid, in a day illustrating the dual policy and political demands on the president as the 2012 campaign season nears.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Republicans said they were prepared to extend the temporary payroll tax cut, but they opposed Democrats' plan to pay for it by taxing incomes over $1 million, setting up a showdown over how to pay for any eventual measure.