February 1st, 2008
02:29 PM ET
6 years ago

Cafferty: John McCain changes his tune on taxes?

 Senator John McCain participates in the televised Republican debate at the Reagan Library .
Senator John McCain participates in the televised Republican debate at the Reagan Library .

When it comes to the Bush tax cuts, John McCain has a pretty complicated story. See if you can follow along:

It starts with being against them before he was for them. At this week's debate, McCain said he opposed the tax cuts in the past because they didn't come with spending cuts. But that's not what he said at the time.

In 2001, McCain said President Bush's $1.35 trillion tax cut benefited the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. At the time, he tried but failed to change the bill to reduce income tax cuts for the wealthiest and give greater benefits to those earning less money. Not a word about spending cuts.

In 2003, McCain opposed a $350 billion tax cut. In that instance, he said it was because there should be no tax cuts while the cost of the Iraq war and its aftermath were still unknown.

Flash forward to the 2008 presidential race. Not only is McCain giving a different reason for his previous opposition to tax relief, but he now wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, fighting what he calls "the Democrats' plans for a crippling tax increase." This is from the man who calls his campaign bus "The Straight Talk Express."

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