December 22nd, 2007
12:02 PM ET
15 years ago

Romney and McCain campaigns tangle over taxes

Romney has focused recent Granite State attacks on McCain.

NORTH CONWAY, New Hampshire (CNN) - Mitt Romney told a crowd in notoriously tax-averse New Hampshire Saturday that rival John McCain had "failed Reagan 101" by not supporting President Bush's tax cuts, the latest in a series of new attacks on his Republican rival’s fiscal conservatism.

"He voted against the Bush tax cuts – twice … That’s failing Reagan 101," said the former Massachusetts governor. "Reagan taught almost all of us in the Republican party that lowering taxes would grow the economy, and was good for the economy, and good for individuals. I believe the Republicans are going to nominate a tax cutter to become President."

Romney’s campaign also sent reporters a press release Saturday titled ‘Straight Talk Detour,’ which compared the Arizona senator’s statements on the Bush tax cuts to those of Democratic Sens. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry of Massachusetts.

The McCain camp immediately shot back. "From his claims of being a 'lifelong hunter' to receiving the NRA's endorsement to marching with Martin Luther King, Jr., it's clear that Mitt Romney has trouble with the truth,” former New Hampshire Rep. Chuck Douglas, McCain’s New Hampshire vice chairman, said in a statement.

“His latest attacks are yet another example of his complete inability to level with the voters of New Hampshire. The facts are clear: Romney refused to endorse the Bush tax cuts he now claims to champion, maybe because he was too busy raising taxes in Massachusetts by over $700 million per year - more than any other state in his first year in office,” said Douglas.

The past few days have seen Granite State frontrunner Mitt Romney refocus his attention on the newly-resurgent McCain, who is currently at or tied for second place in most recent surveys of the GOP primary race there. The state’s voters head to the polls in just over two weeks.

After Romney’s speech, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, who has endorsed the former governor, told reporters the race “is coming down to a contest between Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney here in New Hampshire."

There has long been no love lost between Romney and McCain. The two men and their campaign allies were at odds, privately and publicly, long before either was a declared candidate. For Chuck Douglas, quoted in the McCain’s campaign’s tough Saturday statement, the anti-Romney sentiment may also be personal: in 1990, he lost his congressional seat to Democrat Dick Swett – who received a campaign donation from Romney during his first re-election bid.

–CNN's Sareena Dalla and Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: John McCain • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Greg, Barrington, IL

    True to form. The only real opportunity conservatives have to prove their patriotism (beyond no-cost gestures such as wearing flag pins and promoting flag-burning amendments)is the concrete act of contributing to their country monetarily. This puts conservative greed at direct odds to their "patriotism". Guess which wins?

    December 22, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  2. J, Seattle, WA

    December 22, 2007 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  3. Walt, Belton, TX

    Romney couldn't hold a candle to NcCain's record of service to this country. The fact that he refused to serve his country in uniform shows his true colors – yellow!

    December 22, 2007 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  4. pam Eugene OR

    MsCain and his bigoted mommy need to go home and take a nap till about 2050.
    I very much appreciate his military service but do not want him to be our President!

    December 22, 2007 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  5. Mike Kaplan, philadelphia PA

    What kind of level of simplistic moronism have we descended to here? Romney's version of Reaganism 101 seems to come down to "Taxes BAD, tax cuts GOOD". In fact, some tax cuts are good, and some are irresponsible...and some are nothing but greedy giveaways to the already obscenely rich.

    Not only that, but someone needs to tell these guys that they are running for president, not Ronald Reagan Impersonator.

    December 23, 2007 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  6. Justin, Charlotte, NC

    I agree wholeheartedly but McCain's coming up short on resources.

    December 23, 2007 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  7. Matthew B, Main Line, PA

    Of course, inherent in this back-and-forth is the fact that both McCain and Romney insist - against common sense as well as every bit of evidence - that tax cuts produce higher revenues. They both know that what they're saying is an outright lie, repeatedly debunked, but it's what Fox News viewers have come to believe, and that's who votes in the GOP primaries. That they can maintain straight faces while calling themselves "straight talkers" is hard proof of their disingenuousness.

    December 23, 2007 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  8. GRACE


    December 23, 2007 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  9. D Hansen, Apex, NC

    McCain is a mean spirited, bitter, old man who is unloyal, uninspiring, author of the McCain Feinhold bill that hurts our election process by being full of loopholes who loves amnesty for illegals. No way can I vote that that candidate. Not afraid of taxes.

    Romney is just the opposite. He has confidence, solid ideas, the three legged stool of Reagan (defense, family and economy), a tried and successful turn around expert, tax cutter, market economy supporter.

    December 23, 2007 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  10. pbj, San Diego, CA

    McCain's camp's comments ignore the substantive point in favor of an ad hominem attack: McCain voted against the tax cuts twice. McCain should say where he is on the issue now and not take a shot at Mitt, essentially calling him a liar. Did McCain not make those votes? Is that a mischaracterization? Mitt's "refusal to endorse" (i.e., refusing as a state official to take a stance) is much different than McCain's actual no vote when McCain was a Senator whose vote was needed for passage.

    Mitt balanced Massachusetts' budget without raising general taxes. If he increased fees, that would raise the costs of those using the government's services, which seems eminantly fair when balancing the budget of a state operating at a huge deficit. I also understand Mitt closed big loopholes, which is not raising taxes, either, but some people end up paying more.

    December 23, 2007 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  11. Alice Newman

    If Mitt was so great in Massachusetts and a great 2nd home owner in NH, why did all the major newspapers in NH/MA endorse McCain? They know more about him than most ...

    Those pointing out that McCain wanted the tax cuts for Bush friends and contributors to come with cuts in spending are right on ...

    You can say you are a fiscal conservative or you can be one ... as for the deficit, check the facts... Mitt's are wrong – again. I don't have the link but the information is out there – just not on Mitt's webpage.

    December 23, 2007 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  12. Another Educated Mormon Woman in the US!

    To SUSAN CARTER in Loganville, Georgia.

    Your bigoted comments about Mormon women show your extreme ignorance and lack of education.

    The Women's Relief Society, which is the largest women's organization in the world, is run entirely by Mormon women. They work and travel around the globe in their efforts to serve in charitable capacities.

    The Mormon Church encourages their female members to be educated and politically and socially active in their communities and the world.

    My own daughter is doing her undergraduate work in Political science/International relations before she finishes with a Law degree. She is just another example of the level of education encouraged by church leaders.

    She also served 18 months at a local college as President of a student body organization while she was a dual credit high school student.

    My other daughter who is still in high school is planning on studying Photo journalism.

    Within my congregation there are women engineers, doctors, teachers, nurses psychologists, business administrators, and (gasp) Home Economists.

    Although Mormons do value the family and family values, I only know one woman who has "11 kids" as you so ignorantly put it. Actually she has 17! She has traveled to Romania on several occasions and adopted mulitple handicapped children who would otherwise be trapped in horrific conditions. Not only is she educated, her career is in Theatre and she has worked as a director, she is compassionate and proactive!

    Please become more educated about people before you make such an ignorant generalization.

    December 23, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. j, Seattle, WA

    But 'What about Dave?'
    His comments in this blog:

    'speaking of trust.. John speaks in code and is secretively clammoring (sic) to keep borders open to his losing immigration policy and democratic friends under the guise of "comprehensive" reform.'

    Dave, get some psychiatric care.

    December 23, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  14. FAIR TAX,LA.


    December 24, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  15. Crystal

    Sorry Romney you seem to have the right intensions but you are just too two-sided on every topic especially about abortion.

    January 8, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  16. Crystal

    Nice Regan inpersonation but that won't win you votes

    January 8, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. Derrick

    Can someone correct me if I'm wrong but Do John McCain support the fairtax.

    January 11, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  18. Janine Brownlee

    This campaign is not about a person's religion, Susan Cater. But if you do want to factor in anything that has to do with religion then you need to factor in morals. The mormon church teaches that in abundance and you need to check your facts before you attack another person's religion.

    January 30, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
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