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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama challenged congressional Republicans today to let taxes rise on the wealthiest Americans on both economic and political grounds, noting he campaigned successfully for re-election on the point and contending it would instantly ease the threat of the "fiscal cliff" plunging the nation back into recession. "A modest tax increase on the wealthy is not going to break their backs," Obama said of the nation's top income earners. "They'll still be wealthy," he said at his first news conference since winning a second term. At the same time, the president stressed he was amenable to compromise on other approaches from Republicans who say they will refuse to raise tax rates. "I believe this is solvable," he said during the news conference. At a news conference of his own a short while later, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, agreed that a bipartisan "spirit of cooperation" has been evident since the election that augurs well for talks expected to begin Friday at the White House. The president's remarks were his first extended public discussion of the issue that is dominating the postelection session of Congress, and they followed statements earlier in the week from Boehner and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate GOP leader.