Mitt Romney hit John McCain on tax cuts Friday.
"One of my friends is Sen. McCain, he voted against the Bush tax cuts," Romney told the crowd at a Granite State campaign event. "I think the Bush tax cuts were a great thing for our country. I support them and want to make them permanent."
Later, a questioner asked Romney if that attack had been hypocritical, since the former Massachusetts governor had not endorsed the tax cuts when they were introduced in 2003.
Romney responded that as a governor, he had not spent time dwelling on federal issues. "You see, I wasn't a U.S. senator, I didn't have to vote on this, didn't get a choice to. I was running my state," he said.
"But Sen. McCain was a senator, he had to vote, he had to decide: am I in favor of pursuing these tax cuts or not? And he voted against the tax cuts twice. That's a very different position," said Romney. He added that he would both preserve current tax cuts, and look to add to them.
Romney, whose campaign is counting on a strong showing in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary, still leads McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in recent Granite State polls, although that margin has shrunk slightly in recent surveys.
This week, the Arizona senator nabbed the backing of Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman – a nod that may help sway some of New Hampshire’s critical independent voters – as well as endorsements from several major area papers, with just over two weeks to go until the state’s voters head to the polls.
–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla