ON MESSAGE

White House: No Middle-Class Tax

Throughout his campaign and in the early days of his presidency, Barack Obama has repeated again and again that he will not raise taxes on the middle class, specifically families making less than $250,000. But Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Obama's chief economic adviser Lawrence Summers went off message when they hinted at the possibility of a tax hike during appearances on the Sunday talk-show circuit. On Monday, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was in full damage-control mode, reaffirming the president's campaign pledge that a tax hike for the majority of Americans was not on the horizon "in the clearest terms possible." Gibbs could not explain, however, why Geithner and Summers had strayed from the White House line. "Promising that everybody is going to be on-message may be a bar that is too high for me to leap over," Gibbs said.