Obama Makes House Call to Virginia Family to Talk Taxes

Northern Virginia's Santana family becomes a face of the fiscal cliff fight.

Posted: 12/07/2012 01:41 PM EST
Barack Obama and the Santana Family

While it wasn't quite as thrilling as winning last week's megabucks Powerball, being picked for a visit from President Obama likely came in a close second for Tiffany Santana and her family, who live in nearby Northern Virginia.

The White House chose the family to put a human face on the fiscal cliff debate after Santana responded to the president's email asking people to share their stories about how a tax hike would impact their families.

For Santana, a high school English teacher, it would be the equivalent of two months' rent.

"They're keeping it together, they're working hard, they're meeting their responsibilities," Obama said sitting with the family at their dining table in Fairfax, Virginia. "For them to be burdened unnecessarily because Democrats and Republicans aren't coming together to solve those problems gives you a sense of the costs on personal terms."

The president and Republican House Speaker John Boehner are engaged in fractious debate over how to avoid the fiscal cliff and prevent automatic spending cuts in discretionary domestic programs and the Defense budget and a tax increase for all income levels scheduled to take place in January.

Like scores of households around the nation, Santana's is multi-generational. It includes husband Richard, a porter at a local Toyota dealership; son Noah, age 6; and her parents Velma and Jimmie Massenburg, child-care provider and postal worker.

"We all pool our resources to work together as a family. This has not only been economically beneficial to us, but more importantly, we are richer in love this way," Santana wrote in her #My2K response. "In our household, because we have two sets of working adults as income earners, we are looking at what $4,000 means to us. We pay $2,000/month to live in our Northern Virginia home, so $4,000 means two months' rent."

Before the meeting, the White House released a campaign-style video featuring the family outlining their monthly expenses and the effect higher taxes would have on them.

"We're in the midst of the Christmas season," Obama told reporters during the visit. "I think the American people are counting on this getting solved. The closer it gets to the brink, the more stress there is going to be."

Meeting with the Santanas was the president's latest effort to gain public support for his case on the fiscal cliff by taking his message directly to the American people. Earlier this week, he spoke to toy manufacturing workers outside Philadelphia, and on Monday will speak to employees at the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant in Redford, Michigan.

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(Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

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