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From today’s press gaggle aboard Air Force One:

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                   June 06, 2012

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney en route California, 6/6/12

Aboard Air Force One

En Route California

10:08 A.M. EDT

….Q    Can you comment on President Clinton’s remarks on CNBC? And it seems the President’s tour with him was book-ended by some comments in which he differed with President Obama.  Is this indicative of some tension, or is he just incapable of staying on message?

MR. CARNEY:  I think you saw, Caren, last night Mr. McKenna, the spokesman for President Clinton, put out a statement that clarified what President Clinton was saying and made abundantly clear that there’s no daylight between President Clinton and President Obama when it comes to, A, the need to extend the tax cuts for middle-class Americans and to not extend tax cuts for those making over $250,000.  That’s the President’s position — President Obama’s position — and that’s the position that President Clinton has as well, which he made clear at the event that he — in which he joined President Obama the other night.

Q    They both agree that the tax cuts for the wealthiest shouldn’t be extended permanently, but President Clinton and now Larry Summers has said that the tax cuts should be extended temporarily.

MR. CARNEY:  First of all, I don’t believe that’s what Larry Summers said.  But I think what, again, President Clinton’s spokesman said last night is that President Clinton supported the extension of all the tax cuts in 2010 as part of the deal that President Obama reached with congressional leaders at the end of 2010.  He does not support the extension of the upper-income tax cuts, but he does, as President Obama does, support the permanent extension of tax cuts for the middle class.

I mean, let’s be clear about something here.  President Clinton, in 1993 — and I’m old enough to say this from experience because I covered him — passed a budget plan that included raising rates on upper-income Americans.  At the time, Republicans in the House and the Senate, including the very leaders that we have today, decried that budget plan as one that would cause a recession, economic decline, increase deficits, all the worst possible outcomes.  What happened?  The longest peacetime expansion in American history, 22 million jobs, and a situation where the middle class saw its incomes rise, not just for the wealthiest Americans.

Let’s fast-forward to the eight years prior to President Obama taking office.  Those same Republican leaders supported policies that led to a situation where the record surpluses that President Clinton bequeathed on his successor were transformed into record deficits when President Obama took office.  The prescription that the Republicans put forward has been tried and it was a woeful failure.  And people understand that.

Q    Jay, is the President’s vow not to ever extend the Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthy again extend to a temporary extension aimed at getting some comprehensive agreement?

MR. CARNEY:  President Obama has been clear about his position and it has not changed:  We should not extend and he will not extend the tax cuts — the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of the American people.  It’s bad policy.  It’s bad for the economy, bad for our —

Q    Even temporary?

MR. CARNEY:  I would just point you to what the President has said and his position has not changed.

Q    It sounds like you’re leaving room —

MR. CARNEY:  No, I’m not.  I’m citing the President of the United States.

Q    I just want to be clear, though — so even temporarily he would not extend the Bush tax cuts?

MR. CARNEY:  The President’s position is that we absolutely should extend the tax cuts for the middle class; we should not extend and he will not extend tax cuts for the highest-income Americans.

The question you should be asking is, will the Republicans force a tax hike on 98 percent of tax-paying Americans because they’re holding them hostage to tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.  That’s the question.  Because if the Republican —

Q    But —

MR. CARNEY:  No, Julie, it’s not on the level — what I’m saying, he will not — could I be more clear?  He will not support an extension of the upper-income Bush tax cuts.  He could not be more clear….

[emphasis added]

That’s definitive.

Let’s all send Mitt Romney a bill. He’s been sponging off of everyone else for the past eleven years.