(Reuters) Talks to avoid a fiscal crisis appeared to stall on Wednesday as President Barack Obama accused Republicans of digging in their heels due to a personal grudge against him, while a top Republican called the president “irrational.”

As the clock ticks toward a year-end deadline, Obama and House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, are trying to reach a deal to avert harsh tax hikes and spending cuts that could trigger a recession.

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