How right was Romney? 2016 campaign would hinge on American buyer’s …

19 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

ABC’s Dowd Knocks Romney: You Can’t Own Car Elevators and Run on Poverty.

The Sunday news shows had a ring of 2012, with President Barack Obama and his presidential foe Mitt Romney both grabbing headlines for their intentions to boost the country’s middle class. Mayor de Blasio blasted Mitt Romney’s pledge to raise Americans out of the depths of poverty as a “disingenuous” attempt to gain support from voters in Romney’s nascent presidential campaign. “Doing it in such a ham-handed manner in what appears to be a deathbed conversion is a strange way to suddenly come out of the box with it, and I find it disingenuous, and I think a lot of other people will too,” said de Blasio in an interview with Politico on Sunday.

Politico calls Romney’s mention of eradicating poverty “The reinvention of Mitt Romney” but wastes no time in pointing out all the criticism now headed Romney’s way, courtesy of Democrats. “In a word,” said one of Obama’s 2012 campaign alums, describing the reactions bouncing around on private emails and text messages, “disbelief.” “Romney is 47 percent concerned about inequality,” the president’s 2012 campaign press secretary, Ben LaBolt, said in an email. “The other 53 percent of him would rather polish his car elevators.” In reality, a discussion of poverty in America and how best to reduce it, if not eliminate it, could be a productive discussion, with Republicans giving a voice and a more full explanation to their socioeconomic views.In a This Week segment that treated the prospect of a third Mitt Romney candidacy less seriously than Huckabee 2016, former GOP strategist Matthew Dowd sounded befuddled at how the plutocrat intended to run as a populist. “He ran one campaign in 2008, a different campaign in 2012,” Dowd said. “To me this campaign he’s developing, he should be talking about foreign policy…I think it’s very problematic for Mitt Romney, who has car elevators, to run a campaign on poverty.” “You want to be authentic and genuine,” Dowd added. “That’s not to say wealthy people can’t talk about those issues. Obama will use Tuesday’s State of the Union address to call for raising taxes on the country’s wealthiest Americans and biggest financial institutions in order to pay for middle-class tax cuts and other initiatives—plans that pundits said Sunday will go nowhere with the new Republican-led Congress. Now he’s absorbing blows from the far left – New York’s mayor who positioned himself as national progressive leader by tackling early childhood education, paid sick leave, and unresolved labor contracts in his first year in office.

What remains to be seen is if Mitt’s predicament—that is to say his history as a flawed and failed presidential candidate—makes him the right messenger in this case. Romney, on the other hand, announced he is seriously considering a third run for the presidency, listing income inequality as one of the country’s problems in a Friday meeting with GOP leaders. Romney’s announcement that he’s seriously assessing a third White House bid has revived a conversation topic that bedeviled him the last go around — that he’s too steeped in cash to connect with the struggles of the average American and benefits from a lopsided tax code. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., questioned whether Romney was making a sincere point or just trying to get past his image as the rich guy caught dissing the 47 percent of Americans on government assistance during the 2012 election cycle. “Listen, when he stands in front of all these Republicans on Friday night and laments the fact that the rich have gotten richer under Barack Obama when, you know, he pays less tax than the guys who installed his car elevators, there is an authenticity problem,” Granholm said. Granholm, who did not return our request for comment, is referring to a small but unwelcome bit from the last presidential election that did not help to soften Romney’s image as a corporate raider. (And we assume she is talking about tax rates, not tax amounts.) In the spring of 2012, the public learned that Romney’s plans for a multi-million dollar beach house in La Jolla, Calif., included an elevator to move cars from the basement to street level.

This add-on costs about $55,000 fully installed. (Construction on the site is underway, and we don’t know if the elevators are done yet.) Needless to say, this was an unwanted, if minor, distraction for the Romney campaign, which was already dealing with calls to be more transparent about the governor’s financial assets. Billionaire Warren Buffett distilled this down to the line that he paid a lower tax rate than his secretary thanks to the favorable treatment of capital gains. After much pressure, Romney released two years of income tax returns in 2012 that showed he paid 13.9 percent in federal taxes in 2010 and 15.3 percent in 2011, a bit less than the national average.

If the installers were single with no children, then a simple tax calculator gives them a total effective federal income tax rate of 17 percent—more than Romney. On Fox News Sunday, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins faced off against former U.S. solicitor general and Republican attorney Ted Olson about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to take up same-sex marriage this year. “Never once in any of those cases did it say that it had to be between a man and a woman,” Olson said. “Fifteen times it said it was a matter of privacy, liberty, association, dignity and respect for the individual.” Olson pointed us to a brief he and his colleagues filed as the respondents in the 2013 case Hollingsworth vs.

The cases he cited cover a range of topics, including privacy and parental and reproductive rights, and span from 1888 to 2003, but all touch on marriage as a “fundamental right” in some way. The question was never asked until the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to strike down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, ensuring same-sex couples get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples, said Clifford Rosky, a law professor at the University of Utah. The Tax Policy Center, a project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, uses a complicated tax simulator to estimate the total tax burden. Until recent decades, some experts told us, the court likely assumed that when they said “marriage,” others would interpret that as meaning a heterosexual union, not a homosexual one, due to societal norms.

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