From remarks by White House spokesman Joe Lockhart at a White House briefing Wednesday:

Q: CBO surplus estimates came out yesterday. Their worst-case scenario apparently would have $800 billion more in the 10-year surplus forecast than last year, than recently anyway. Isn't there enough room now, given that kind of surplus, for the tax cuts' magnitude the Republicans want, or some of the candidates want, $450 [billion], $500 billion?

Joe Lockhart: . . . The CBO put out a number of numbers yesterday. There is only one set of numbers that is realistic, based on the Republicans' own spending plans, based on what they did last year, based on the kind of budget they passed last year.

To argue that you can do a baseline assuming some 1997 numbers that they've already made inoperative is just not a very fruitful exercise.

I think the numbers argue a couple of things. One is that the economy is growing strongly. . . .

I think that the numbers do argue that there's room for tax cuts, tax cuts that are targeted at the middle class, that will help the middle class deal with the real challenges they face in this country. . . .

The numbers don't argue that you can have the kind of explosive out-year tax cuts that some of the candidates have talked about. You know, you look at the numbers that some of the Republican leading candidates have put out, and very clearly, there won't be enough money to make the kind of investment in Social Security and Medicare that needs to be done.