October 9th, 2007
05:33 PM ET
15 years ago

Sparks fly as Giuliani, Romney battle it out on taxes, spending

Mitt Romney attacked Rudy Giuliani's record on taxes during Tuesday's debate.

DEARBORN, Michigan (CNN) – The escalating campaign trail war of words between Republican presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney over taxes and line-item vetoes moved center stage Tuesday in the economic debate.

Romney took Giuliani to task over a commuter tax he backed as New York Mayor, and his effort to fight a presidential line-item veto. Romney called Giuliani’s positions “a mistake” and said, “when it's all said and done, if you're a New York taxpayer, city taxpayer, your state and city tax combined can reach as high as 10 percent. And in our state, if you're a Boston worker, it's going to be more like 5.3 percent.”

Giuliani countered that Romney had a weak record on spending as Massachusetts Governor, saying, “the difference is that under Governor Romney, spending went up in Massachusetts, per capita, by 8 percent. Under me, spending went down by 7 percent.”

Giuliani accused Romney of not controlling taxes while in office.

Giuliani used two popular conservative issues in defending his opposition to the line item veto. He said, “The line item veto was unconstitutional. I took Bill Clinton to the Supreme Court and beat Bill Clinton. It's unconstitutional. What the heck can you do about that, if you're a strict constructionist.”

Giuliani, leading in the national polls, but trailing in Iowa, claimed the issue is dead because the Supreme Court has already struck it down, saying, “You have to be honest people. And you can't fool all of the people all of the time.... You don't get to believe about it; the Supreme Court has ruled on it”

But Romney argued a reworked version would be legal, saying, “I do not believe the line-item veto is properly structured. The president, just last year, introduced a line item veto that passes constitutional muster.... I'm in favor of the line item veto to make sure that the president is able to help get out pork and waste. Washington is finally going to have to have a reduction in spending.

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- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

Filed under: Michigan • Mitt Romney • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. TwilightZone

    Fight over the minor details when the real problems were clearly defined by Ron Paul. The Fed, income tax, suppressive government regulations and an illegal and expensive war.

    CNN – you have an obligation to act as the check and balance of power. How about standing up and questioning this insane drive toward attacking Iran (with a nuclear option no less!)? I guess a pay check is more important than your integrity.

    October 9, 2007 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Isn't Mitt's state known as "taxachusetts" ?? If you read the facts, Mitt left that state with a deficit and a Big Dig tunnel that was poorly built.

    Have at it, guys. Your Democratic challenger can use it all for the national campaign.

    October 9, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  3. Matthew Crandall, Twin Falls Idaho

    Mitt Romney came in with a projected 3 billion dollar deficit and actually left with a large surplus. Look at the numbers Alice. And I am sorry if Romney is not as good of a Tunnel construction engineer as you would like. He studied Business and law not civil or mechanical engineering. jerk.

    October 9, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. Ross Abraham, Northville, MI

    Romney was outstanding! It was so funny to hear him talk about being nervous that Granholm was going to tax the debate. Also, it was hilarious when Mitt talked about the campaign being like Law and Order where there is a great cast of characters and where Fred Thompson shows up at the end.

    October 9, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. Cherry Pie, NYC, NY

    The Big Digg was planned and implemented way before Romney. He's the only one with the know how to get the country out of this financial hole.

    October 9, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. Lynn Ensley McCaysville, Ga.

    Mr. Mitt, you come across a little better than the rest of your misinformed and earmarked rat pack buddies, but I can't get past the memory of your pappy being on the receiving end when social security was robbed the first time. He and Reagan had to pay a lot of unemployment. Can't wait for Hillary, such a refreshing change.

    October 9, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  7. Mike, Milwaukee, WI

    Both Guiliani and Romney left office with deficits...Guiliani's just "wasn't as bad" as when he assumed office, still a deficit nevertheless

    October 9, 2007 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  8. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    Alice Newman Center Harbor NH:

    If you know anything about Big Dig you should then know that the Big Dig project was conceived in the 1970s by the Boston Transportation Planning Review to replace the six-lane Central Artery. The Big Dig project planning officially began in 1982. After years of extensive lobbying for federal dollars (it should be noted here that the former Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. pushed to have the Big Dig funded by the federal government), the bill appropriating funding for the Big Dig was passed by U.S. Congress, but it was subsequently vetoed by President Ronald Reagan as being too expensive. Congress overrode President Reagan's veto and the project began in 1991. So, as you can see Gov. Romney has NOTHING to do with the design of the Big Dig since he was elected Governor in 2002.

    Second point you brought up is deficit. Maybe you'll be surprised to learn, but as the Governor of Massachusetts, Romney turned a huge deficit into a balanced budget without raising taxes or increasing debt. Governor Romney balanced the budget every year of his administration, closing a nearly $3 billion budget gap inherited when he took office. Gov. Romney in fact got the economy moving again in Massachusetts and turned deficits into surpluses, while at the same time addressing major health care (health care reform was passed into law) and educational issues.

    Before talking trash, at least know your facts.

    October 10, 2007 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  9. Charles, Los Angeles, CA

    Romney can't forget his businessman past, acting in the interest of nothing but dollars and nonsense, and Rudy can't seem to remember the days when he practically acted as the dictator of New York before 9/11, when he thought individual liberty was 'problematic', everyone should 'submit to authority their lives', and freedom was an 'impediment'.

    Remember those days, Giuliani? How about you, Romney?

    October 10, 2007 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  10. laurinda,ny

    I think that he is the most sneakiest one of them all. I never trust anyone who is always dressed for a photo -op.

    October 10, 2007 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  11. lou, Miami Florida

    Mitt Romney is a serial flip-flopper

    October 10, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  12. Chris, Middletown, CT

    "Mr. Lhota said that the Giuliani administration cut the budget shortly before leaving office to leave the city in a better position. He noted that the fiscal year in which Mr. Bloomberg took over from Mr. Giuliani ended with a surplus of $677 million" – he cut taxes 23 times....and those who lived in NYC and visited like me....before Giuliani took office...and after....saw city that was horrible (before) and amazing after – the New York Times spins the story 20 different ways....but....he is what we need – Giuliani 2008!

    October 10, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. samh

    you both are unqualified,you shouldnt be talking about a commuter tax and crap for nyc while arent you republicans talking to the nation istead of nyc,,,who gives a hoot ,needsless to say you dont care about nayone than yourselves all republicans are that way...why dont you talk about this expensive war ,ya dont want to ya want to stay there forever is whatpresiodent Carter,you have no idea how to stop or pay for this was.get real Im voting Hillary.

    October 10, 2007 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  14. lane

    wage war is the repundits way ,I think before bush leaves office he should take these candiates and put a stop to it before anyone leaves office and then figure out a way on how to pay for it.his own rep party should pay for it.it was all lies.

    October 10, 2007 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |