That's the question this morning: Has the White House indeed signaled it would make a deal with Republicans to temporarily extend the Bush tax cuts on earnings over $250,000?

David Axelrod reportedly told The Huffington Post that Obam was indeed ready to make a deal, during a 90-minute interview in his office. Huffington Post does not quote Axelrod as saying so, directly at least. "I don't want to trade away security for the middle class," Axelrod is quoted as saying.

Huffington Post's headline declared that the White House "Gives In" on the Bush tax cuts--"giving in" being quite an unsavory thought for political types, who generally don't admit to giving in to anything, even when they have.

Now, Axelrod tells National Journal that he didn't say that. Katy O'Donnell reports:

"We're willing to discuss how we move forward," Axelrod said in an e-mail to National Journal refuting the Huffington Post story, "but we believe that it's imperative to extend the tax cuts for the middle class, and don't believe we can afford a permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthy."

Operatively, the important tidbit here seems to be that Axelrod is struggling with the possibility that Republicans will insist on a full extension so adamantly that, if the White House maintains its position, the tax cuts for earnings under $250,000 won't get extended.