Axelrod dances around Obama’s no tax-hike vow

Who can forget Obama’s campaign pledge not to raise taxes on families making less than $25o,ooo?  It was part of every stump speech, all of the debates and was oft repeated by his surrogates.

Now Obama seems to be backing off of the pledge as proposals to tax health care benefits to pay for health care reform are considered.

Under persistent questioning from ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod declined to restate the vow and left open the possibility that the president might sign health care reform legislation that taxes high-cost, employer-provided insurance plans which some middle-class families currently receive tax free.

“The president had said in the past that he doesn’t believe taxing health care benefits at any level is necessarily the best way to go here. He still believes that, but there are a number of formulations and we’ll wait and see,” Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The important thing at this point is to keep the process moving, to keep people at the table, to the keep the discussions going. We’ve gotten a long way down the road and we want to finish that journey.”

When Stephanopoulos asked why Obama hadn’t drawn a “line in the sand” over his tax pledge, Axelrod suggested that kind of ultimatum is at odds with the president’s effort to being a new tone to politics.

“One of the problems we’ve had in this town is that people draw lines in the sand and they stop talking to each other. And you don’t get anything done. That’s not the way the president approaches this,” the White House adviser said.

What makes this especially odious is that while Obama is hedging on his campaign promise not to tax below the $250,000 level, he is considering adopting something that he vilified John McCain for daring to propose.