Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is still optimistic about a "fiscal cliff" deal, he told NBC Friday morning, saying "the odds are better than people think." 

“I’m getting a little more optimistic today,” the senator said. “Sometimes it’s darkest before the dawn." He said there were "two good signs for optimism."

One is the fact that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is "actively engaged" in talks with the White House for the first time. The other is that House Speaker John Boehner decided to call his members back on Sunday. 

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.),  was less enthusiastic.

“This afternoon’s meeting feels too much to me like optics to make it look like we’re doing something,” he told CBS. "This is a total dereliction of duty at every level. I've been very surprised that the president has not laid out a very specific plan to deal with this, but candidly Congress could have done the same, and I think the American people should be disgusted.”

But The Fix explains why "fiscal cliff" pessimism should be taken with a grain of salt. Both sides are trying to signal that they won't budge; when it gets down to the wire, that can change very quickly.