WASHINGTON (CNN) - "Read my lips: No new taxes."
That famous phrase from George H.W. Bush came as he accepted his party's presidential nomination at the Republican National Committee convention in 1988.
At the time, it was exactly the red meat Republicans were looking for. But campaigning and governing are two very different things.
Bush was elected as the nation was slipping into a recession. When confronted with a growing national deficit, he had to find a source of revenue.
That revenue came in the way of raising taxes, a move that especially rankled members of the GOP and became an issue for Democrats to run on in 1992. Democrat Bill Clinton was swept into the White House.
Pushing forward to 2009, another president may have trekked onto the same territory.
On Monday, the White House sought to shoot down concerns that middle-class families may face a tax increase in order to combat rising deficits and a struggling economy after its two top money men floated the idea that tax increases to fund the nation's economic recovery could extend beyond the wealthiest Americans.