October 5th, 2007
05:00 PM ET
15 years ago

GOP candidates score points with anti-tax group

Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback called for reforming the tax code Friday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A group that promotes fiscal conservatism gave a warm welcome to a partial field of Republican presidential hopefuls at a candidate forum Friday.

Rudy Guiliani drew the biggest applause after he and four GOP rivals each spoke during the "Defending the American Dream Summit" organized by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

Guiliani opened the forum with a combination of humor and barbs, while citing his practical fiscal experience as New York City mayor. Unemployment offices became “job centers,” he noted, and said the Democratic candidates had better realize their proposals will cost money.

As an example, he said Sen. Hillary Clinton's proposal to give each child a $5,000 savings bond would cost $20 billion a year.

"You and Bill can't afford that!" he said and noted taxpayers would have to pay for it. The bonds, he joked, would have Hillary's picture on them.

Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, called for reform of the nation's income tax laws, saying, "When you can't fix it with duct tape and WD-40, it can't be fixed." He later told reporters his rivals should be worried that his fundraising is nearly as strong as theirs, and has seen growth every quarter. Huckabee raised $1 million from July through September compared to roughly $10 million each for Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during the same period.

Fred Thompson seemed awkwardly unrehearsed as he began his remarks, but that may have endeared him to the crowd as it gave him one of the biggest rounds of applause.

When he first came to Washington as a new U.S. Senator, Thompson acknowledged he made mistakes.

"I accidentally spent some of my own money," Thompson said, as the crowd laughed, "but I quickly recovered."

Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback brought two large, hardbound books to the stage and with a weighty thump on the lectern used them as a prop to call for reform of the tax code.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul ran long and organizers gave him a not-so-subtle cue to wrap it up by briefly playing political rally music over the public address system, nearly drowning out his remarks. The crowd cheered his vow to get rid of the federal income tax if elected.

Romney was scheduled to address the group Friday night. Among other declared GOP candidates, Sen. John McCain spoke Thursday at a Capitol Hill gathering of the group's delegates. Friday's audience of more than a thousand people represented grassroots chapters in 17 states.

"We invited all the candidates," said spokeswoman Annie Patnaude. She could not explain why none of the Democrats came to the event and said no additional summit was planned for them.

- From CNN's Paul Courson

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Frank Virginia Beach

    Oh, how sweet the sound of sanity in the midst of the roar for control and higher taxes.

    October 5, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  2. Bob, Seattle, WA

    Giuliani has it right. He only needs Huckabee as his VP running mate to shore up the conservative moral majority to ensure success in '08 and the next 16 years for Republicans in the White House.

    October 5, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    The Bushies can't even spell "fiscal conservatism" much less practice it while spending borrowed billions on dumb wars yet whining about too much money for kids' health care.

    October 5, 2007 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  4. laurinda,ny

    Will the Republicans ever stop telling tales? There noses grow every time they talk.

    October 5, 2007 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  5. Brad, Cincinnati, Ohio

    If you think any Republican besides Ron Paul can defeat Hillary Clinton, you're dreaming. If you think any candidate besides Ron Paul can turn this country in the right direction, you're dreaming. None of these other candidates care about you, your prosperity, nor your liberty. What's it gonna take for you "serfs" to realize what's going on?

    October 5, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  6. Brian, Orlando, Florida

    Aren't most of these candidates want to expand immigration control, outlaw abortions and deny gays the right to marry (all of which would cost tax money to enforce). But then again we are talking about Republicans, they will just increase the deficit and deny children healthcare!

    October 5, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  7. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Republicans for fiscal responsibility? I'm still laughing! Like the old prostitute who recants on her death-bed ... which is what the next election will be for the Grim Ol' Party.

    Reality check: It has been a GOP dictatorship of all three branches for the last 6 years and GOP obstruction for the past year.

    Bridge to No-Where comes to mind. High deficits after spending the Clinton surplus ... funding the war with bills outside the budget ... billions for war, still leaving our troops scrambling for equipment and cuts in veteran benefits. Billions for Haliburton and Blackwater with no-bid contracts. New Orleans in shambles.

    If I started on Republican wide stance ethics, I'd be out of room ...

    The thought of a Republican in the White House for the next 16 years makes me physically ill.

    October 5, 2007 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  8. Andrew, NJ

    Ron Paul has the best anti-tax message...yet here is the break down of how much time they got to speak:

    Giulliani 25 minutes.
    Huckabee 20 minutes.
    Brownback 15 minutes.
    Ron Paul 10 minutes.

    Kinda odd that Brownback and Huckabee got more time to talk than Ron Paul...

    But thats ok...Ron Paul can say more in 10 minutes than Giulliani and the rest can say in 25 hours.

    October 5, 2007 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  9. Will - Miami, Fl

    Brian from Orlando: Deny children health care? That's such an inaccurate way to describe what you and those like you really want. You see, what you want is for the government to provide FREE healthcare to children. However, the fundamental flaw in that is that the government doesn't make money (yes they print it but that's not what I mean). The government TAKES money from people (me for instance) to spend on programs like the healthcare you're talking about. The government should NEVER steal money from people to give it to other people. You want just that. You want the government to take the money that I earn and spend it on other peoples children. How about this: I keep my money and spend it on MY children. If you want to provide healthcare for other peoples children, YOU PAY FOR IT! As for "denying children healthcare", say what you really mean "The republicans don't want to steal money to impliment socialist programs that will destroy our economy and gurantee substandard healthcare at an infflated cost because the government screws up everything they attempt to do"...

    October 5, 2007 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  10. fred

    Hey Libs name a time when your party ever balanced a budget? Cant think of any well the answer is no. Republicans balanced the budget in the 1990s with Bill kicking and screaming! Since 2000 Republicans could have been better stewards of taxpayers money and they paid for it by losing the election. But the american people know who is better with budgets.

    October 5, 2007 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  11. J Houston, TX

    5% of the GDP on a war is 1/10th of what was spent during World War II budget. So explain to me where all the money is going these days? Corruption, entitlement, and keeping rich politicians in Washington

    October 6, 2007 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  12. Derrick, Hagerstown, MD

    Whatever. The vast majority of these guys are borrow-and-spend Republicans. It's rather disgusting to watch them pay lip service to fiscal conservatism.

    October 6, 2007 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  13. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    From the NY TImes: as a discussion point –

    The total size of the city’s work force was almost exactly the same as when Giuliani first took office. And partly thanks to the cost of contracting out other services, he left his successor with a budget deficit that was worse than when he started out.

    Fiscal what?

    October 6, 2007 05:40 am at 5:40 am |

    i just can not understand the way republicans think, check back. every repub. president has created more goverment debt than any democrat ever has. clinton left dumba a huge surplus, george spent that and trillions more. and it is all borrowed.

    October 6, 2007 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  15. Sam, IA

    The Republicans at no point in time have shown any fiscal restraint. Thier only dealing in such matters was forced upon them by a democratic president who gave them a good spanking. His paygo plan was scuttled the minute a republican president was installed. Remember the battle cry of the 90s ? BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT NOW!! That one died a sudden death when it actually had to be considered. Talk's cheap. Pay your taxes.

    October 6, 2007 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  16. Paul C., Palmetto Bay, FL

    It's fine to be anti-tax but after doubling the national deficit in 7 years I ask the conservatives how they are going to pay it? Maybe they think that if they ignore it it will disappear. Will the next generation have to raise taxes to pay it?
    It is the height of cowardliness and selfishness to cut your taxes and leave a massive debt for the next generation to pay. Pay-as-you-go is what made this country great and is the only fiscal policy that makes sense.
    If you feel the war is necessary and you want to fight it then have the courage to man and pay for it.

    October 6, 2007 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  17. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Well the free lunch crowd is gathering around the government buffet again. They love government services, they demand action when a kid gets lead poisoning from Chinese toys, illegal immigrants overrun the border, or the bills come due for the war that 90% of us initially supported.

    It is delusional and very self-serving to pretend that lowering taxes and not paying the nation's bills is patriotic. The Republic is facing many dangers in a dangerous world in a grim and unpromising new century. The national debt is a hair over 9 trillion – about 29,000 for every man, woman, and child in America. The debt is owned mostly by our friends Communist China and the Muslim oil exporting countries in the Middle East. If another national emergency occurred (a big hurricane destroys New Orleans again, a 10.5 earthquake hits with its epicenter below Los Angeles, we attack Iran which then nukes Israel in retaliation with weapons purchased from N. Korea, etc.), then there is no way to finance our response to those catastrophes.

    We can't keep paying the monthly bills with the Visa card folks, much as you would like to.

    So, all of you self-serving patriots who believe that the government owes you free services while you pay less in taxes, lets start coming up with a list of services we can terminate to offset these tax cuts, and let's come up with a way to pay down this debt, which will probably be 12 trillion before we can get the current president into his retirement.

    I suggest cutting way back on fire and police protection. My house has never caught fire because I am careful, and no burglar has ever stolen from me. Besides, we can all hire private security firms. Also, let's get rid of the food and drug administration. Let the free market decide what medicines work and what medicines kill us. We can trust the pharmaceutical corporations. Get rid of Amtrak. I don't live on the east coast so I don't use it. Get rid of national parks. Sell them to Disney. Sell municipal water delivery systems to private corporations and get rid of socialized water.

    Keep social security because I plan to use it soon. Give our military a raise. They are getting shot at while you and I lunch at Applebee's.

    Let's hear it from you freeloaders. What services that YOU use would you give up to cut taxes and help pay off the debt.

    October 6, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Terry, El Paso, TX

    "Hey Libs name a time when your party ever balanced a budget? Cant think of any well the answer is no. Republicans balanced the budget in the 1990s with Bill kicking and screaming! Since 2000 Republicans could have been better stewards of taxpayers money ..." – Posted By fred : October 5, 2007 10:58 pm
    Percentage of the National Budget financed by debt since WWII.
    Truman 0%
    Eisenhower 3%
    Kennedy-Johnson 6%
    Nixon-Ford 14%
    Carter 13%
    Reagan (25%)
    Bush (the good one) 28%
    Clinton 6%
    Bush (the other one, first term) 27%

    October 6, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |