Robert Gibbs at yesterday's press briefing.
Q That may be true, but the President on the campaign said that -- he made a flat pledge that he would not raise taxes on anybody making under $250,000. So is that pledge still operable?
MR. GIBBS: Well, again, I think in some ways your question is hypothetical because there are any number of different bills, different proposals. I think the President has outlined what he believes is the very best way to pay for health care.
Q It doesn't have to be hypothetical. He made a pledge --
MR. GIBBS: I understand.
Q -- he said, I am not going to raise taxes on anyone making under $250,000. Is that pledge still active?
MR. GIBBS: We are going to let the process work its way through.
Q So it's not.
Q So it's not.
Q So it's not. (Laughter.)
MR. GIBBS: We're going to let the process work its way through. All right?
You have that awfully perplexed look on your face, Mr. Garrett.
Q Well, what would be the reason for reversing among the most conspicuous, if not the most conspicuous, campaign promise that this candidate Obama repeated everywhere across the country?
MR. GIBBS: Well, I appreciate the indulgence to get into these hypothetical questions months before we're likely to do that. It is rich to watch the fact that we're making so little progress on health care reform that you've asked me if the President is going to sign the bill that's not at his desk. Let's --
Q We didn't ask you about signing the bill --
MR. GIBBS: No, no --
Q And there's nothing hypothetical about reaffirming a campaign promise.
MR. GIBBS: It is in the sense that we're not facing any sort of decision on this. We're letting Congress work many of these issues through. And we're making progress.
Q But, historically, administrations that make such conspicuous promises tell Congress, you can do this, this, and this, but don't go there because it's not something we're going to do.
MR. GIBBS: And I think the President in his principles and in the $948 billion to finance health care reform has laid out pretty clearly what his financing mechanism would be. Which --
Q Then why not take the opportunity provided by Ed to reassure the American public that the campaign promise still stands?
MR. GIBBS: -- any increase in revenue would affect top wage-earners' charitable deductions, returning them to the rates of the Regan administration.
"Yes ma'am" means he moved on to another question.