Mixed Message From Administration on Taxes

As deficit soars, economic officials open doors to middle-class taxes.

ByABC News
August 3, 2009, 5:47 PM

Aug. 3, 2009— -- At President Obama's daily economic briefing this morning, the president took the time to re-educate two of his administration's top economic officials on his campaign promise that he would not raise taxes on the middle class.

Over the weekend, when pressed on whether the president would raise taxes on middle-class Americans to bring down the record-breaking deficit, two of his closest economic advisers dodged the question.

"We're going to have to do what's necessary," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, when asked directly in an exclusive interview on ABC's "This Week."

"We will not get this economy back on track, recovery will not be strong and sustained, unless we convince the American people that we are going to have the will to bring these deficits down once recovery is firmly established," he said.

And when asked on CBS's "Face the Nation," National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers said, "There's a lot that could happen over time."

"It's never a good idea to absolutely rule things ... out no matter what," he said.

Yet today, the White House tried to quell concerns that the president would go back on his campaign pledge not to raise taxes on Americans making less than $250,000 a year.

"The president was clear. He made a commitment in the campaign. That commitment stands," press secretary Robert Gibbs said. "I want to just state again clearly here that the president has made a very clear commitment to not raise taxes on middle-class families."