October 29th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Fact check: Obama, Biden 'creeping down' on who gets tax cuts?

What have Obama and Biden said about their tax cuts?'
What have Obama and Biden said about their tax cuts?'

The Statement

In a campaign speech Tuesday, October 28, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain accused Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, of being inconsistent on taxes.

"Senator Obama has made a lot of promises. First he said people making less than $250,000 would benefit from his plan. Then this weekend he announced in an ad that if you're a family making less than $200,000, you'll benefit," McCain said. "But yesterday, right here in Pennsylvania, Senator Biden said tax relief should only go to middle class people, people making under $150,000 a year .... It's interesting how their definition of rich has a way of creeping down."

The Facts
Obama has said throughout the campaign that families making less than $250,000 a year will not see a tax increase. Those making less than $200,000 will get a tax cut, he says. "If you make less than a quarter of a million dollars a year, you will not see a single dime of your taxes go up," Obama said during an October 7 presidential debate in Nashville, Tennessee. "If you make $200,000 a year or less, your taxes will go down."

The campaign ad McCain refers to, titled "Defining Moment," does have a graphic appear on the screen that says, "Families making less than $200,000 get tax cut." Obama says, "If you have a job, pay taxes and make less than $200,000 a year, you'll get a tax cut," which is, again, consistent with the plan he has
laid out.

Biden was speaking Monday, October 27, in an interview with WNEP in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He said, "(An) $87 billion tax break doesn't need to go to people making an average of $1.4 million. It should go like it used to. It should go to middle class people - people making under $150,000 a year." Biden never
says that tax breaks should "only" go to such people. The Obama campaign says he was merely using that figure as an example and that the statement does not represent a change in policy.

The Verdict: False. What McCain is doing here, in part, is comparing apples and oranges. He compares two different aspects of Obama's tax plan as if they were the same. And Biden never said people making less than $150,000 are the "only" people who would get a tax cut under Obama's policies.

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