President Barack Obama, closing in on a deal with Republicans to extend tax cuts, said yesterday he might not get “100 percent of what I want” but compromise was necessary to head off a rate increase for the middle class.

In a speech at a community college in North Carolina, Obama hinted at a possible agreement that would at least temporarily extend Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier Americans — as Republicans want — rather than strictly for families making less than $250,000, as he and his Democrats preferred.

Aides in Congress said there was some nervousness that if Obama works out a deal with Republicans to extend all Bush-era tax cuts, the president could have a hard time getting fellow Democrats in Congress to vote for such a bill.

The tax cuts are due to expire at the end of the year and rates for many Americans will increase in January unless Congress takes action before it adjourns later this month.

Liberal supporters accuse Obama of being willing to compromise in the tax battle in a bid to find common ground with Republicans, who have been emboldened by big gains in the Nov. 2 congressional elections.

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