(CNN) – Two politicians in their final terms in office faced off Friday over a series of tax cuts that are set to expire on January 1.
Democratic Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said that a small business jobs bill signed by President Obama last week "provided some certainty," but argued the Republican argument for extending the Bush tax cuts for individuals making more than $200,000 a year smacks of hypocrisy.
"That was a good bill last week. That provided some certainty," the Michigan Democrat told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "The - the ability to extend the tax cuts for the middle class and down, I think, are very important. Do the top two percent need that? If you get back to the fiscal conservative argument about paying for it, I think it's really speaking out of both sides of your mouth."
Retiring New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, a Republican, countered: "It would be hard for me to disagree with that more strongly."
"That small business bill...that the governor talked about – conceptually, it was a good idea. It just wasn't paid for," the Republican said.
When Granholm interjected to say that the $30 billion legislation was paid for, a frustrated Gregg said "Governor – you don't know what you're talking about."
"I happen to be the ranking member on the Budget Committee; I'll tell you, it wasn't paid for,” Gregg said. “Next year it added $88 billion to the deficit. Over 10 years, they allege it was paid for. In the last three or four years, they allege that there's an adjustment which accomplishes that in the seventh, eighth and ninth years. [...] It’s the same little game and gimmick that they play around here on almost everything.”
"If you want to continue to run these deficits up on our kids, you go ahead and do it, governor," Gregg added.
Granholm said that while the budget deficit is important, what’s weighing on the minds of voters is job creation and the primary way to create jobs is to invest in small businesses.
“That will reduce the deficit more quickly than slashing and slashing and slashing and laying people off and creating a downward spiral,” Granholm said.