Professor Irwin Corey could not have muddled the issue with any more unintelligibility than WH Press Secretary Jay Carney did today:
We are encouraged that there are signs that Congressional Republicans may back off their insistence on holding our economy hostage.... Congress must pay its bills and pass a clean debt limit increase without further delay.
The Hill characterized Carney's statement as a "reserved endorsement" of House Republicans' latest debt-ceiling antics, noting that it may have "signaled a possible shift from earlier in the week," when the press secretary demanded that Congress lift the ceiling "without drama":
"A monthly extension is drama, okay?" Carney [had] said.... "[This is] not a third-tier economy that goes month to month or every half year and casting doubt on whether or not we’re going to meet our obligations."
It could be that the White House is simply humoring House Republicans, or that Carney misspoke, or--worst case--that the "reserved endorsement" is for real, less "reserved" than "reversed." The WH's initial silence was actually preferable. There's too much anxiety out here about executive apostasy on a non-negotiating stance to be messing around.
The WH requires only two words in response to Republican gamesmanship, the very same two words it should have deployed unflinchingly in 2011: "Clean bill."