TODAY   |  November 12, 2010

After Japan, Obama has tax-cut dilemma

Before returning home to deal with the Bush tax cuts, the president visits Japan after departing the G-20 summit without a breakthrough trade agreement in hand. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to president obama 's asian tour and the summit of the world economic superpower was held overnight in seoul , south korea . savannah guthrie has the latest.

>> reporter: good morning, to you. well, ann the president left seoul without the breakthroughs on some of the things he came for and on that big domestic issue of taxes, the president said this morning he is willing to compromise but will leave the deal making for when he returns to washington.

>> i'm not going to negotiate here in seoul .

>> reporter: the president from south korea today, rumors of compromise on the bush tax cuts are premature, rejects reports his administration has already decided to temporarily decided to extend all the tax cuts even to highest earners.

>> that is the long interpretation because i haven't had a conversation with republican and democratic leaders.

>> reporter: wrapping up the g-20, the president was willing to look at the trade imbalances that have americans buying more goods from overseas than they're selling. but the leaders put off decisions on how to fix the imbalances and the president comes away from seoul empty handed on a sought after free trade agreement with south korea .

>> instead of hitting a home run, we're going to hit singles. but they're really important singles. i'm not interested in signing a trade agreement just for the sake of an announcement.

>> reporte .

>> reporter: today the -- wound up on the defense over the federal reserve 's decision to pump $600 billion into the economy, something critics seized on as the u.s. manipulating its own currency.

>> when i am asked about it, my simple point is to say that from everything i can see, this decision was not one designed to have an impact on the currency, on the dollar. it was designed to grow the economy.

>> reporter: reflecting on his seven days abroad, the president resisted the suggestion of drumming in the midterm actually weakened him on the world stage.

>> i have to say my relations have become much stronger with the people i have worked with here. it disininvolves the interests of countries and not all of these are going to be resolved easily. and it's not just a function of personal charm.

>> reporter: well the president is now in japan for one last summit, a meeting, an economic conference of asian pacific nations and he returns to washington on sunday.