December 22nd, 2007
05:52 AM ET
12 years ago

Romney goes after McCain on tax cuts

Mitt Romney hit John McCain on tax cuts Friday.

ROCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) ­– Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took aim at rival John McCain Friday for not supporting President Bush's tax cuts.

"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

Filed under: John McCain • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Allan Jones Boston, MA

    Romney is a fiscal conservative, and that's what this country needs right now. By the way, if Romney runs the country as well as he has run his campaign (and I think he will) this man may turn out to be the best president this country's ever had. Never in my lifetime have I seen an administrator of his caliber.

    December 22, 2007 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  2. Ken, New York, NY

    McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts because they favored the richest Americans and did not provide any relief the middle-income American families. If Romney had any brains in his head, he'd know better than to sling mud at John McCain who has a proven track record as a Senator on both domestic and foreign affairs.

    December 22, 2007 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  3. Romney2008

    Romney is a brilliant business man and I think his tax cut ideas would serve our ecomony well. Our nation is in need of a shift of direction and I believe Mitt is the best qualified candidate to do this.

    He was right to make the public aware of McCain's tax stance. In an economy heading for a recession, the last thing we need is increased taxes.

    December 22, 2007 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  4. Mark R. Fort Lauderdale FL

    Mitt is not afraid to attack anyone, is he? It must be maddening to put up so much of your own personal fortune, just to see your leads dwindle away anyway.

    December 22, 2007 02:05 am at 2:05 am |

    "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.

    And he's glad he didn't have to vote!

    Isn't this the ploy Obama uses to garner dignity with his 'I never voted for the war' line? Isn't this how Hillary keeps from making committing statements, by not making choices she could later be criticized for?

    He's not very original here.

    December 22, 2007 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  6. Matt A. . Marietta, GA

    Stupid Romney. Quit calling it blasphemy to ridicule or not agree with Bush. You'd better not win, we don't need a Bush clone.

    December 22, 2007 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  7. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    We elected fiscal conservatives 7 years ago ... the GOP had unfettered control of all three branches and what did they do? Government and government spending are at an all time high!!!

    Elect Mitt and you'll have more of the same – tax breaks for his rich friends and rich sons (currently serving their country by getting Pop elected) !!

    What Mitt did in Massachusetts and what he says now just shows his continual, unending flip-flops and spin. The best show in town is to watch him wiggle out of every past statement and position.

    The way he runs his company? Like hiring people who hire undocumented workers ... twice! Then he fell back on the old GOP line that he wasn't responsible ... this from the party that preaches personal responsibility ... for everyone else.

    Mitt is Bush Lite ... and you can't get any worse than that ...

    December 22, 2007 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  8. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Romney is a fiscal conservative, and that's what this country needs right now." – Allan Jones, Beantown

    "Romney is a brilliant business man and I think his tax cut ideas would serve our ecomony well." – Romney2008

    The last thing we need is Conservative "fiscal discipline" because there is no such thing. The Conservative leadership is pandering to its base by promising tax cuts like an irresponsible husband promising his wife a diamond ring when the house payment is three months overdue and the electricity has been cut off for non-payment. The Bush tax cuts have saved the average American $42 in taxes, so the ring turns out to be a cubic zirconium.

    Conservatives created our enormous federal debt of 9.1 TRILLION dollars – $30,074.14 for every man, woman, and child who lives at your house – and its growing at 1.4 BILLION dollars per day.

    Look at the percentages of the federal budget paid for by deficit spending in these presidential administrations:
    Liberal – Truman (0%), Kennedy-Johnson (6%), Carter (13%)
    Moderate – Eisenhower (3%), Nixon-Ford (14%), Clinton (6%)
    Conservative – Reagan (25%), Bush the Elder (28%), Bush the Younger (32%)

    Those Conservative tax cuts are being paid for by deficit spending, not by "Conservative fiscal discipline." If we suffered a major catastrophe like a global epidemic that killed, say, 35 million Americans, another expensive war, another hurricane Katrina, or a 10.1 earthquake devastating LA we would not be able to borrow the money to deal with it. The national MasterCard has been maxed out by irresponsible Conservatives. America is driving around on bald tires, the gas tank is on empty, the catalytic converter is shot, and two spark plugs have fouled out. We have sold the birthright of our children for a lousy forty-two bucks. The World War II generation may be called the greatest generation, but history will not be so kind to our generation.

    There are only three possible explanations for this kind of fiscal irresponsibility by Conservative leaders:

    1. They are morons – They cannot add or subtract. They believe in the free lunch, the sugar-plum fairy, and the elves who make cookies in the hollow tree.

    2. They are corrupt – They sell us swamp land and calling it prime real estate. They are con artists, promising to install new brakes on our car but all they do is clean up the old brake pads so they will quit squeaking for a few days.

    3. Treason – They are deliberately trying to bankrupt the nation so that a crippled federal government will not have the funds to run the nation any longer, thereby enabling giant corporation to do anything without fear of federal regulation or prosecution.

    December 22, 2007 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  9. K Wilkinson MG TX

    You won't find a more experienced fiscal conservative. Romney's got skills! We need him in the Whitehouse.


    December 22, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  10. Scott, Milwaukee, WI

    "Romney is a fiscal conservative, and that's what this country needs right now. By the way, if Romney runs the country as well as he has run his campaign (and I think he will) this man may turn out to be the best president this country's ever had. Never in my lifetime have I seen an administrator of his caliber."

    Romney's basic campaign strategy is to infuse his campaign with boat-loads of his own cash and then to spend that cash on boat-loads of TV ads. This is hardly "fiscal conservatism." Furthermore, if this is emblematic of how he would run this country's finances, he would not be a good president. Besides, he's a flip-flopper and a liar.

    December 22, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  11. Lee, Mays Landing New Jersey

    Real "Fiscal Conservatives" believe that the government should not have to pay a huge portion of every tax dollar to pay off INTEREST on debt.

    Therefore REAL fiscal conservatives would never support a tax cut during this massive deficit.

    The phony "conservatives" of today are "conserving" nothing but inherited wealth. The Republican party has been the irresponsible debt explosion and spend party ever since Reagan.

    Their whole theory is to put government so far into debt that it is hamstrung and has to pay interest and not do anything to help the public.

    Also they spend like drunken sailors and look good in office and force the responsible democratic office holders that follow them to raise taxes so they can be labelled as "tax increasers" for electoral gain.

    Modern republicans maintain that government cannot work. Elect them and they prove it. They are a wrecking crew and put us hopelessly in debt. There is nothing fiscally conservative about about that.

    December 22, 2007 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. comartslibrarian

    If Romney runs the country as well as he's run his campaign, our debt will skyrocket with no results to show for the expense. Just look at the millions he's outspent in Iowa and N.H. versus the poll numbers of Huckabee and McCain!

    If you look at Romney's record in Mass., we'll all end up paying more in "fees" which might as well be called taxes. I'm contemplating launching a new brand of fertilizer based on these Romneyisms.

    December 22, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. NoRomney08, El Paso TX

    The tax cuts didn't work because they simply shifted the entire burden to the middle-class which has no way of making up for the spending orgy Republicans went on under their watch ...and they call Democrats the tax and spend party, what a joke!

    Republicans talk a lot but the end-results prove how stupid they are when it comes economic policy. Inflation is up, the dollar is down, our country is being either bought out and/or bailed out by China and Arab countries. How proud Republicans must be.

    Now here's this clown that wants more of the same.

    December 22, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  14. PM, Seattle, WA

    Dodge-o-rama Mitt! Nice! You must have been spending time with Hillary! Do the duck and weave Mitt. The truth is Mitt, you want those tax cuts only for yourself and the selected few. Go play horse hockey somewhere else.

    December 22, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Allan Jones Boston, MA,

    Yeah .. your Bush lapdog has run his campaign really well – especially if you CONVENIENTLY ignore his MANY flip flops.

    Don't worry .. if you need a list of them, Ill be more than happy to post them on this thread too!

    December 22, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. Jeff Stevensville, MI

    Ron Paul is the real fiscal conservative. How can Romney hail change when he agrees with all of Bush's policys which are failures. Financing the rich's tax through the deficit is BS. The tax cuts are not what fuel the economy.. The interest rates cuts did that and are destroying the dollar and this county. Nice shot Bush!

    December 22, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  17. Christine, Burke, VA

    McCain didn't vote for tax cuts because WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A WAR. McCain knows the war has to be paid for. Romney wants to continue the war AND not pay for it. It's an obvious choice.

    December 22, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. Tom, Phx, AZ

    McCain voted against the tax cuts because there were no spending cuts in the bill! You would think Romney would be smart enough to know that if you decrease government revenues and you have wasteful government spending then you should cut the wasteful spending as well. Otherwise you can end up with an increase in the national debt – and that causes the devaluation of the dollar. This is the reason McCain voted against the tax cuts – there were no corresponding spending cuts of the wasteful pork in the federal budget! Either Romney needs to tell the whole story (everyone knows he can tell stories!) or he needs to study some basic economics.

    December 22, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  19. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Tax cuts are a tiresome promise used by mostly very comfortable Repellicans to pander to the mostly rather well-off folks who should be glad they can afford to pay taxes.

    December 22, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. Eric, Salt Lake City, Utah

    It's funny to see Romney praised as a fiscal conservative when he knows well that McCain only voted against the cuts because they were not paired with spending limits. Funny also that Romney distanced himself from Reagan back in the day. The fiscal conservatives in 2003 were concerned about increasing our debtor status in the world.

    McCain was absolutely right. We are not talking about early 80's tax levels here. It was a modest decrease (nothing to do with Reaganomics) when we continued to run a deficit and build debt. We should cut taxes only to the extent that we can cut gov't pork barrel spending or establish some sort of non-emergency balanced budget requirement. Otherwise Chinese buyers of our debt will have an even greater influence on our foreign policy.

    December 22, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. Phil Memphis, TN

    Wow. I knew he wasn't the brightest tack in the box, but Romney continues to think his best shot is to grab onto Bush's coattails? Who does this guy have advising him?

    December 22, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. T. Tim, Lodi, Wi

    REAL conservatives, especially if they are savvy at business, don't run an organization on unlimited debt. All this baloney about tax cuts is only to benefit the richest 1% of the population. Meanwhile the gap between haves and have-nots grow wider and wider. Bush claims to be doing the right thing with permanent tax cuts, but how will the US ever pay for this endless war???

    December 22, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Allan Jones Boston, MA

    Those of you railing against Romney's fiscal conservative credentials, I wonder who you are supporting? Rather than throw out poorly-reasoned arguments, I wish you'd just come out and admit that you're just trying to make Romney look bad so your candidate can win. Give me a break. Look at Romney's track record. He'll clean up our government's finances just like he cleaned up every company he touched (including the Olympics). That's the only evidence I need. My vote's for Mitt, and no silly partisan rants are going to change my mind.

    December 22, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. Walt, Belton, TX

    Romney's still a doofus in so many ways. Too bad Huckabee's not any better. That leaves McCain, who's definitely the better choice that waffling Hillary.

    December 22, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Sean Allen

    Romney is entering the stage of his campaign in which he must resort to lies and misrepresentation. As we watch, he is crashing and burning as a desperate, unattractive candidate inevitably will. The diminishing cast of supporters who trumpet the Mormon mis-speaker are simply not enough to keep him afloat for very much longer. Look for Willard the Mittmeister to abandon the campaign before the inevitable humiliation that awaits him in South Carolina.

    December 22, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
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