December 22nd, 2007
12:02 PM ET
12 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. Newt G. Chicago, Ill

    McCains Camp got the story all wrong. Mitt Romney went Hunting with Martin Luther King Jr and was endorsed by Oprah. How did they get that story so wrong way to go McCain Camp do some fact checks next time.

    December 22, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  2. Tom, Phoenix, AZ

    It seems all Mitt can do is exaggerate his own stories and attack other republicans. "Do not attack other Republicans" – Reagan's 11th commandment. Didn't Mitt the flip accuse Huckabee of violating Reagan's 11th commandment when Huck went after Mitt? What a hypocrite Mitt shows himself to be again. You just can't trust this guy.

    Why doesn't Mitt tell the whole story (we all know he is good at telling stories) and say that McCain was against the tax cuts because there were no corresponding spending cuts of wasteful pork in the budget. Mitt should know if you decrease revenues without decreasing spending you can add to the debt – and drive down the value of the dollar. Mitt needs some education on telling the truth and also on basic economics.

    December 22, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. Brian, Syracuse NY

    Newsflash, Romney: You're no Reagan.

    December 22, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Dale Davis, Glendora, California

    Sing it John. Bomb, bomb, bomb,
    Bomb, bomb, Iran.

    December 22, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. JT Shaheen, Memphis, Tn

    Is there a reason that there is not ONE single ticker about Ron Paul?

    He is clearly a threat to all of the other candidates. I just want to know why he is repeatedly ignored by CNN?

    December 22, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Susan Cater, Loganville, Georgia

    Why hasn't the media picked up on
    Romney. We used to tess the Southern Baptist of keeping their women bare foot and pregnant. The Morman's make the Baptist look like liberals. They might allow Blacks into the fold, but their women will have 11 kids. Look how often they are in the church-4 plus times a week, and the communal food banks. Rather cult like, don't mix with the neighbors after school-off to the morman community center. Where are the woman activist? These guys just don't think women are equals when it comes to running business.

    December 22, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Humgrad, Iowa City, IA

    I don't think there can be much doubt that Gov. Romney, who helped to overcome a three-billion dollar deficit in Massachusetts and has spent the last two decades getting tremendous results in the financial sector, is the most fiscally sound candidate in the Republican party. Just as he has pointed out for a long time now, Romney supports the Bush tax cuts and will keep them, where Sen. McCain, like Sens. Clinton, Obama, and Edwards, wants to roll them back.
    As for the inaccurate statement that Gov. Romney raised taxes by $700 million... he did not raise a single tax during his term as governor. He raised fees by some $250 million; the remaining 2.75 BILLION in deficit that he inherited he eliminated through sound fiscal conservatism.

    GO MITT 2008!

    December 22, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. Steve, Lyons, CO

    The Bush tax cuts helped the rich and corporate. No regular citizen got a thing.

    The Bush tax cuts will disappear ten seconds after the Dems take over. The rich and corporate will pay their share for being allowed to live in a country where you can easily get rich if that's your bent.

    It's time for REAL tax cuts, to the most abused of American citizens: the middle class, only the middle class, and nothing but the middle class. That person, Dem or Repub, would be considered a REAL tax cuts, for the WHOLE country.

    December 22, 2007 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. J, Seattle, WA

    FOLKS! Some attention needs to be addressed to the states having lined up for ear marks for years and years. That this would undoubtedly include Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Michigan and Massachusetts. Why bother raising taxes or lowering them? It is this legal stealing from the coffers of the people that we need to address, not these petty attacks from Mitt.

    December 22, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  10. Dan (Baltimore, MD)

    I love McCain's lame response. He didn't deny any of it or say that he was wrong. Nope. Instead he just attacks Romney right back. So, I guess McCain really is for higher taxes.

    I hope these two keep attacking each other. If they make enough good points, then they can hand NH to Rudy, the one who should really win the nomination and the presidency.

    December 22, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. Alex, Winter Springs FL

    What Romney doesn't say is that McCain voted against the tax cuts because they were not accompanied by a corresponding decrease in spending. That is true fiscal conservatism.

    December 22, 2007 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. Chuck, Conway, NH

    Reagan 101? The lessons learned from the Arab Oil embargo are that we need greater fuel efficiency, renewable energy, and more conservation, but all that went down the drain with Reagan. His legacy was cut taxes for the rich, run up the national debt, and become addicted to foreign oil and debt to foreign nations.

    And Romney wants to follow that lead?

    December 22, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  13. Mike, New Braunfels, TX

    I'm really getting sick of hearing nothing about Romney except that he is attacking yet another fellow Republican, with most likely distorted or false information. This guy is a compulsive liar and appears to be willing to say anything to get elected. Not to mention the fact that he is pouring millions of his and others dollars into attack ads in an attempt to tear down the other candidates and buy his way into the presidency. Stay away from this guy!

    December 22, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  14. Dave, Las Vegas, Nv.

    speaking of trust.. John speaks in code and is secretively clammoring to keep borders open to his losing immigration policy and democratic friends under the guise of "comprehensive" reform. When he lays an egg and the nation rejects it.. quit insisting that we have to keep these people in one form or another. If the other contenders wanna challenge his faith and his core beliefs then expect him to keep reminding them "its the economy stupid".
    And as a successful business man, I'll take mitt's economics and resume any day over John's. Likewise, if they cant take the heat prehaps they shouldn't go into the kitchen.

    December 22, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  15. Lynn, FL

    I have to agree with the McCain camp here. Mitt Romney defining what "saw" means is sounding a lot like Bill Clinton defining "is." Speak the truth and you won't have to go back and dicker over the nuances of a word, English Literature major or not. Romney is digging himself a nice big hole, which is fine by me because I wouldn't vote for him anyway.

    December 22, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. Jon, Jacksonville FL

    This is incredible to me. The Romney campaign's audacity continues to astound me- Romney loves to play the victim, (the "reformed" politician who just keeps getting attacked on the abortion issue) but has no problem passing on the blame to Senator McCain, who has a great record of financial conservative policy. The previous post hit the nail on the head- John McCain was doing what was best for the country by voting against the tax cuts, even tough he knew that it would be unpopular. That's really the story of his career- putting the nation ahead of his own self-interest. Mr. Romney would do well to follow his example.

    December 22, 2007 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  17. Daniel, NY

    The most recent poll from IA and NH has McCain ahead of Romney in Iowa and tied in New Hampshire. He has some major momentum! Link to these shocking polls.

    December 22, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  18. Jim Murphy, Nyack, NY Vietnam Veteran

    The Republican Tax Cuts... if you are a veteran, Reagan and Bush slashed Veterans Healthcare... if you fly, they both slashed money for the FAA...
    if you need to drive, they both cut funding for the American infrastructure BUT worst of all, they raided the Social Security 'surplus' to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. Reagan praised 'deficit spending' while turning his back on veterans needs for PTSD and Agent Orange.

    December 22, 2007 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  19. DON, honululu, HI

    Romney has run the most negative campaigns of all candidates, by attacking his rivals. He is also the guy who spent the most and has the least cash on hand.

    We should not pick a president with these attitudes and spending habits.

    December 22, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |


    December 22, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  21. Jim, Tulsa, Oklahoma

    Great comments, Tom and Brian. Romney's campaign seems to be on a negative campaigning express. That only gives me more comfort with McCain. A man you can trust, a man who stands for what he believes.

    December 22, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  22. J, Seattle, WA

    John McCain believes taxes should be low, simple, and fair and has a track record of commitment to these principles.

    December 22, 2007 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  23. Allan Jones Boston, MA

    IT'S A FACT. McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts. That's concerning. That's why McCain is considered a fiscal liberal, and that's why true fiscal conservatives support Romney over McCain. WE DON'T NEED ANY MORE TAXES!

    December 22, 2007 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |

    You know, you gotta be really desperate when your best argument for getting elected is always, 'the other guy sucks'!

    December 22, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  25. Mike, NJ

    The idea behind supply side economics is that it frees up cash for investments of capital in the US – and therefore JOB CREATION IN THE USA. Romny seems to have 'accidentally' overlooked the fact that Corporations are investing thier capital in other countries where product safety is not followed, pollution controls are non-existent and unrealisticly low wages are tolerated. Romney is either not a very smart man or he is trying to pull a fast one on the voting public – the vast majority of which will be negatively affected by lower Corporate taxes. God help us if we elect another idiot to the Whitehouse.

    December 22, 2007 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
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