White House senior adviser David Axelrod did not rule out the possibility that President Obama might accept a temporary extension of tax cuts for top earners, a policy he campaigned against and has repeatedly panned.

Axelrod said "there is no bend on the permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans." He made no such statement about the possibility of a temporary extension.

"The bottom line is he wants to sit down and talk about this," Axelrod said Sunday on "Meet the Press."

Making sure taxes do not go up on the middle class is a priority, Axelrod said. He would not provide details on whether, to guarantee that, the president might make a concession to congressional negotiators by approving a temporary extension of tax cuts on top earners.

"I'm not going to negotiate that with you here," Axelrod said.

Axelrod made it clear that the president wants these issued clarified before the end of the year.

"We want people to have the certainty of knowing that's not going to happen," he said. "And Congress ought to -- before they go on vacation, they ought to ensure that people have better vacations of their own by knowing that this matter has been taken care of."