Follow Barack Obama prior and during his tenure as the 44th President of the United States. Read about my personal observations along with every day facts as they happen. This blog will only submit factual information about the first black President, now in his 2nd term of office.


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Obama Renews Vow of No Middle-Class Tax Increase

Monday, August 3, 2009

Published: August 3, 2009 
WASHINGTON — The White House tried Monday to douse speculation that it might raise taxes on the middle class in violation of President Obama’s campaign promise, just a day after two of his top economic advisers left the door open to such a move to rein in spiraling deficits.
Mr. Obama told his economic team in a meeting at the White House that he intended to stand by his promise not to increase taxes on families making less than $250,000, aides said. He then sent his spokesman out to repeat that message in front of the television cameras.
“The president made a commitment in the campaign. He’s clear about that commitment, and he’s going to keep it,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary.
The renewal of the promise came a day after Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and Lawrence H. Summers, director of the National Economic Council, both refused to rule out tax increases on the middle class while discussing ways to pare the deficit. The two were speaking on separate Sunday morning talk shows, venues where administration officials are usually well prepared on the official line before appearing.
“It’s never a good idea to absolutely rule things out no matter what,” Mr. Summers said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. Mr. Geithner, on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” said, “We can’t make these judgments yet about exactly what it’s going to take” to tame the deficit.
Conservative critics interpreted those comments as laying the groundwork for trying to wriggle out of Mr. Obama’s campaign pledge.
“Obama should fire Geithner and Summers,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a group that opposes tax increases. They “went on national television and implied the president lied his way into office and that he is open to raising taxes.”
The developments come at a time when the White House and Congressional Democrats, trying to figure out how to pay for expanding health care coverage, are considering proposals to increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Some critics from the left have suggested that Mr. Obama should not limit tax increases to the rich so that a broader cross section of Americans would be invested in the new health care system, as they are in Social Security and Medicare.
But the White House is trying to fend off attacks portraying Mr. Obama as a tax-and-spend liberal. Mr. Gibbs said that he had read the transcripts from Sunday’s shows “a few times” to study what had been said and that the president had made a point of reminding Mr. Geithner and Mr. Summers of his position, but was not scolding them.
“We talked about it as an issue,” Mr. Gibbs said, but added, “This wasn’t a, you know, like ‘school is in’ type of thing.”
Mr. Gibbs seemed exasperated at repeated questions on the matter at his daily briefing.
“If you don’t trust what I’m going to tell you, I don’t know why we do this,” he said finally.
Asked why Mr. Geithner and Mr. Summers did not repeat the president’s campaign promise, he said, “They left it to me.”


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