Romney’s stand on payroll tax has Dems crying ‘flip-flop’
December 5th, 2011
09:02 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney’s stand on payroll tax has Dems crying ‘flip-flop’

(CNN) - They may be backing the same legislative measure, but Democrats weren’t cheering Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney Monday for coming out in support of extending the payroll tax cut.

“Mitt Romney proved once again he is no ‘man of steadiness and constancy,’” Ben LaBolt, press secretary for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, said. “After belittling the middle-class tax cut the president proposed by calling it a ‘little Band-Aid,’ and saying he ‘is not looking to put money in people’s pockets – that’s the other party,’ Mitt Romney flip-flopped and now says he’s for it.”

The inconsistency charge came after Romney backed the payroll tax cut extension Monday on a conservative radio talk show. The former Massachusetts governor told host Michael Medved he’d “like to see the payroll tax cut extended,” citing the help it would provide middle-class families.

Romney has never been as firm on the issue, though he never explicitly said he did not support it. When the issue has come up previously, Romney said he wanted to see longer-term solutions to America’s economic problems rather than short-term fixes like extending the payroll tax cut.

In his economic plan, Romney points to lower payroll taxes as a potentially positive solution, noting the need for the tax to be properly structured. But he calls the tax cut “no substitute for the longer-term structural reforms to our tax system that are required to place the economy on sound footing for a recovery.”

The “Band-Aid” comment cited by Obama’s re-election campaign came during a debate in October, in which Romney reiterated his goal of longer-term economic solutions.

“If you give a temporary change to the payroll tax and you say we’re going to extend this for a year or two, employers do not hire people for a year or two,” Romney said at the debate. “They make an investment in a person that goes over a long period of time.”

Romney didn’t say then if he supported the payroll tax cut extension, but said he was aiming toward longer-term goals.

“I don’t want temporary little Band-Aids,” Romney said. “I want to fundamentally restructure America’s foundation economically.”

In a statement, Romney campaign spokesman Andrea Saul said Romney had been consistent in advocating longer-term solutions.

"Governor Romney has never met a tax cut he didn't like," Saul said. "He has made it clear that he does not believe that by itself the payroll tax cut will create the type of permanent long term change that is needed to turn the economy around. Instead of taking a seventeen day vacation this month while millions of Americans are out of work, President Obama ought to focus all of his time and energy on getting our economy moving again."

Defending his consistency on the issue, the campaign specifically pointed to a November interview with the editorial board of the Nashua Telegraph, in which Romney said a payroll tax cut extension is a "positive thing" but still a "modest proposal" to fix the economy.

"Those modest proposals are not going to get America's economy going again, or return to America the level of competitiveness that will allow us to out compete anyone in the world," Romney told the New Hampshire newspaper.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. AK_steve

    I love how Republicans say that Gov't shouldn't create jobs and then turn around and blame Obama for not creating jobs.

    December 5, 2011 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  2. Pam

    When things change in the world, people change there views. No big deal, Please!

    December 5, 2011 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  3. AmericanSam

    Well, I'm not sure he really flip-flopped. More like he was unsure and unenthusiastic and then ended up being like, "It's the right thing to do!"

    December 5, 2011 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  4. GT

    if you change your mind and see something differently its a flip flop ..please... that happens every day by most people who are educated... just look at what happen to gen custer,,, he didnt change his mind either...

    December 5, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |

    Once again Mitt Camp. Your present battle is not with the POTUS. You better refocus on Ginrich because he is just about to marginalized your campaign. The word on the street is Newt is rocking your world. look like.Your back yard is on fire and you're out watering the front lawn. You may not get the chance to lose to Obama but Newt will.

    December 5, 2011 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  6. chuck weidemann

    So Mitt wants what Obama wants!!! I think he just endorsed the presidents plan,so now get all those senators backing you to do the same,then talk about being president!!! Be careful Mitt your base is listening,careful,careful...

    December 5, 2011 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  7. bilk7

    At least this time he flipped to the correct side of the issue. Not sure how long he'll stay there though.

    December 5, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  8. Larry L

    Mitt can certainly envision good things for the high-rollers in corporate America. As a man worth 265 million dollars, he has very little understanding of the plight of the middle class, mujch less the poor. The Republican choices are weak... very, very weak.

    December 5, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  9. Iowa

    Not a big Deal Go Mitt

    December 5, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    The Democrats are behaving like the Chicago mob.......which they are!

    December 5, 2011 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  11. Al

    Typical Mitt!

    December 6, 2011 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  12. Dan J

    Can't a person change their mind, especially in a fluid situation? Don't you want some malleability from your President? Otherwise the democrats would label you stubborn.

    December 6, 2011 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  13. sc

    How do you call that flip-flopping and inconsistent?! The democrats are taking every little tiny thing Romney says and twisting it around to call him names. It doesn't make him look inconsistent, it makes them look twisted and desperate.

    December 6, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Pam wrote:

    When things change in the world, people change there views. No big deal, Please!
    The only significant thing that has changed has been Mitt Romney's position in the polls. Sure, other things have changed, too: i.e., NASA has found a planet similar to Earth, most people ate too much for Thanksgiving, unemployment is dropping, etc.

    December 6, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  15. diridi

    Total nonsense to this nation....o.k, Neither Romney, nor Newt winnable. Obama2012.
    GOP is for banning your social security, and Medicare. They are for Rich, Corporate, Saudi, Oil, Not for you Middle Class America, not for You....definitely not for you...

    December 6, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |