White House: Healthcare before climate bill

Democrats are crowing about climate-change legislation passing the House, but President Obama wants the Senate to consider that bill only after passing healthcare reform.

Obama on Saturday urged the Senate to quickly follow suit on climate-change legislation, which will likely prove thornier there than it was in the House. The bill passed the House on Friday evening by a vote of 219-212.

But on Sunday, David Axelrod, the president's top political advisor, signaled that the administration is focused first on healthcare reform.

"I think this energy bill will probably be dealt with in the Senate in the fall," Axelrod said on ABC's "This Week". "Healthcare will be the first thing on the agenda."

Axelrod tried to deflect criticism that the president's policies could wind up increasing taxes for the middle class as Congress attempts to find a way to pay for the healthcare bill.

"I think the president has made clear the way he feels this should be funded," Axelrod said. "One of the problems we've had in this town is that people draw lines in the sand. People stop talking to each other."

Still, Axelrod refused to commit that the policy would not wind up raising taxes in order to reform healthcare.

"He is very cognizant of protecting middle-class, hard-working people," he said. "They're also dealing with punishing healthcare costs."