June 1st, 2012
06:16 PM ET
2 years ago

Norquist defends tax pledge following Jeb Bush remarks

(CNN) - Grover Norquist, the man behind a high-profile anti-tax pledge, said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush insulted GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday by voicing his opposition to the Norquist-backed pledge.

"He kind of stepped in it a little bit," Norquist said of Bush, who spoke before a House Budget Committee hearing on Friday.

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Bush said, "I ran for office three times. The pledge was presented to me three times. I never signed the pledge. I cut taxes every year I was governor."

He said he would favor a hypothetical Romney and other Republicans have opposed: one dollar of tax increases for ten dollars of spending cuts. "This will prove I am not running for anything," he said.

Norquist called that a mistake, and said it could be because "he's not used to Washington politics." Bush was governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, and both the son and brother of U.S. presidents.

Norquist suggested it shouldn't disqualify Bush from the GOP vice presidential ticket, though he offered three names he favored: Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindall, and Sen. Marco Rubio.

The pledge, which was first drafted in 1986, commits signers to making only decreases or neutral changes to the tax code. It has been signed by 238 current members of the House and 41 Senators, according to Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform.

– CNN's Ashley Killough and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report

Also see:

Obama campaign launches assault on Romney's Massachusetts record

Obama campaign releases third set of Spanish ads

Gonzales says Romney must make personal connection to Hispanics

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Filed under: 2012 • Grover Norquist • House • Jeb Bush • Republicans
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Kris Craig

    Norquist is full of himself, as usual. Jeb Bush isn't exactly an honor student, of course, but Norquist is really drinking too much of his own Koolaid if he thinks that not signing his little "pinkie swear" not to raise taxes amounts to a faux pas.

    June 1, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. namryan

    ...so in reality, the election will be between Mr. Obama and a puppet in Mr. Norquist hands.

    June 1, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  3. thomas

    In most civilized countries of the world , Grover Norquist would be considered a pimp of the aristocracy.

    June 1, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  4. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Who put them in office . Not grover nordiquest what ever. They were elected by the people for the people and they serve grover. Therefore they are traitors.

    June 1, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  5. John

    What the article doesn't mention is that Grover invented this pledge when he was TWELVE YEARS OLD. This is what the GOP has come to: mindlessly following the will of a 12 year old.

    June 1, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  6. racegirl1

    Isn't it about time the IRS look at Grover to check on his taxes. I wonder how much or what is he hiding from. Just my thought.

    June 1, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  7. skarphace

    Jeb Bush is exactly right. When you take office, you are responsible to your const_ituents and your const_ituents only. When you sign a 'pledge' to someone other than your const_ituents after you are elected, you are breaking the law.

    Norquist is a traitor and any politician who signed his 'pledge' should be impeached and thrown in jail.

    June 1, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  8. TEW

    Once again the question is "Why are elected officials signing pledges drafted by a non-elected official? What other pledges have they signed other than the one to make Prez Obama a one term president? GOP are modern day politial terrorists beholden to rich 1% and screw the rest

    June 1, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  9. c'mon america

    Why are elected officials signing a pledge , that affects America and americans , with this grover guy ? Why does he command their loyalty ?

    June 1, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  10. Former Repub

    There are many problems and short comings with the GOP in our congress. The only pledge they should be taking to the American people is to do whatever is good for us regardless if tax increases are required or not.
    Work for the people and not for Norquest.

    June 1, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. Sydnium S. Washington

    That's what i call 'some rivals you are'.

    June 1, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  12. Pete

    What's really funny is that Norquist was a junior aid working for Reagan and was there for most of his senile presidents tax hikes.Reagan had 12 tax hikes in all,not the man Norquist today would side with,that's your hypocrital side of the aisle ,not ours.Reagan also took off tax deductions on credit card interest,auto loan interest and was actively working but failed to remove home owners loan interest on primary residences.His highest political achivement was being the first president to steal from SocialSecurity,with Allan Greenspan.Greenspan was told to raise the percentage of Social Security taken out of peoples salaries,then take out the difference between the original percentage to what it was later adjusted too.That percentage meant for retirement went to balancing that years federal budget,making him the darling of the conservative hypocrites nationwide,plus you never as well as I ,got credits for your stolen funds from the federal coffers,the first of many till he left office,that started the trend.You also forget the other famous republicans saying,Bush 41,"READ MY LIPS,NO NEW TAXES",then giving American taxpayers the highest single tax hike in history.You republicans run your mouths,but have no facts to back up your repudiating these illegal acts,which if were known today would mean impeachment,but he's your hero,hate to rain on Reagans and Norquists parade.Now just recently told publicly by Jeb Bush that republicans were stupid for not accepting the federal spending cuts for revenue increases ,10-1ratio,offered by the Democrates months ago saying he'd be on board if Jeb were offered that same thing.Sounds like republicans missed the political boat again,ain't that nice guys,two negetives for republicans,two pluses for the sensible democrates..Who's really conservative,it surely isn't republicans after Bush,that's a fact spread all over Iraq and America,nice ha!!!

    June 1, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  13. Ronda in Houston, TX

    Norquist's pledge should be outlawed.

    June 1, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  14. marty

    So, Grover prefers Portman, Jindill or Rubio as VP candidates for Mitt. Three guys who each "have five digits with which to hold a pen and sign what they are told". Add these men to the list of 238 members of the House and 41 Senators who cannot think for themselves; who must sign a pledge in order to function as government representatives of American citizens. Who among them is the bell ringing Ivan Pavlov?

    June 1, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  15. SA in OO

    If we could just come up with enough pledges for politicians to sign, we could do away with election campaigns all together. The way any candidate would have to vote on any issue would be determined in advance by people, like Grover Norquist, who we never elected for anything. No one in the legislature would have to think much, because they would already have their orders. Not that they think much about anything but getting elected now.

    And we can see how well this is already working for Republicans in Congress ! ! !

    June 1, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  16. Squigman

    The look and the rantings of one of the people responsible for the ruination of the nation.

    June 1, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  17. Donkey Party

    Anyone that signs ANY pledges, particularly Norquist's, should be immediately removed from office, or disqualified from running for office, period.

    June 1, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  18. theloneconsumer

    Jeb Bush met with Grover Norquist a couple of times. 2006 before he left the office of Governor. That is according to a Florida Sunshine Law records request from the Governor's itinery.

    But take a review of Jeb's comments that he didn't need to "sign" the Grover Norquist pledge to cut taxes. He was a poor fiscal steward of Florida the whole eight years as Governor.. In the Orlando Sentinel 2006 artilce, $23 Billion in Debt But we're doing just fine" was a facecious review by reporters Jason Garcia and John Kennedy. When Jeb stripped funded reserves from Tally depts to balance the general fund .

    This $8 Billion in longh term debt Jeb Bush added to our Florida deficits is Jeb's legacy. For no other reason, he could never be VEEP or President. Because as long as Florida continues to borrow money from reserves, we will be the best review of NO NEW TAX quagmire that the republican party triumps. If you don't tax businesses, and you pay, like Florida does, for businesses to come fr 5 years, take city, county, state and federal tax free money to GIVE minimum wage jobs to employees, HOW can your state pull out of a slump??

    It didnt work with Jeb Bush, with Charlie Crist, so how is Grover Norquist going to be a "third generation fiscal destroyer" with a smile on his face? Grover go home.

    June 1, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  19. once upon a horse

    well Grover I guess in this case the truth DOES hurt. Tax cuts for wealthy DO NOT CREATE JOBS....only keep the rich WEALTHY. If this plan worked we would have not had a sorry jobs report this month because the wealthy and big oil still have the tax breaks and little has changed.

    June 1, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  20. tothepoint

    this should be against the law.

    June 1, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  21. tothepoint

    How can we allow one person to control congress. This pledge is being used by Norquist to manipulate the GOP. I encourage you to do your own research. Hopefully you will see how the very rich are funneling money through Norquist to control the GOP.

    June 1, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  22. DOCinPA

    Groovy's detractors are falling by the wayside, one at a time. As more and more see the liability that he is, he will become more and more irrelevant. His time is way past. Oooo, yea, I'm a Republican.

    June 1, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  23. enuff

    Sounds like Jeb Bush actually rhinks for himself rather than just marching to orders given by someone who should be as insignificant as Grover Nordquist. This means however that he will no longer be invited to tea parties. Could anyone tell me please why Nordquist is being allowed to have a say in the VP pick?

    June 2, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  24. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    The "Tax Pledge", required by the Norquist Republicans is CODE for no taxes for the Rich....screw the Middle Class and Poor! No tax increase for the filthy rich who get to pay much less than the average American....but taxing the Middle Class and Poor are just fine. We have already heard the Speaker of the House assert such trash, because as he says, the rich create the jobs for the rest, although apparently NOT for the last three years....they have been holding on to the money drawing interest. Who would expect a Reverand to lie about such a thing?

    June 2, 2012 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  25. ThinkAgain

    Grover Norquist (of instead of raising taxes, let granny die fame) said earlier this year at CPAC in regard to Mittens, knowing that he isn't well-like by Conservatives:

    "All we have to do is replace Obama. ... We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. ... We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don't need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.

    Norquist's "qualifications" for President:

    "Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared."

    Folks, this stuff used to only be whispered behind closed doors; now Republicans are simply laying it on the table. They want Mittens because, like GW Bush, he'll do as he's told by the REAL power behind the presidency.

    So the choice is simple: Do you want a leader who thinks for himself or another GW Bush puppet doing the bidding of unelected officials representing corporate interests, regardless of the cost to our country and her people?

    June 2, 2012 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
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