ORLANDO, Fla. – In an effort to combat President Obama’s recent attacks on his tax plan, Mitt Romney's campaign released a new TV advertisement on Sunday that accuses the president of distorting the Republican nominee’s economic plan -- a charge that the Obama campaign stands behind in a new web video.
During the first presidential debate, Obama referred to Romney’s “$5 trillion tax cut" four times. The number comes from a study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center that examined Romney’s tax proposals – including his plan to reduce federal income tax rates by 20 percent, in addition to eliminating the estate tax and other tax reductions.
The center estimated that the lost revenues would total $480 billion by 2015. The Obama campaign used this number to project the cost over a decade and came up with approximately $5 trillion.
As PolitiFact and other fact-checking organizations have pointed out, Romney’s tax plan also includes offsetting lost revenue by getting rid of deductions and closing loopholes. Romney himself has said that his tax cuts will be revenue-neutral, though he hasn’t specified which deductions or loopholes he’ll close -- one of the central criticisms that Democrats have lodged against him.
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said during an interview on CNN that when deductions are included, Romney’s tax plan “won't be near $5 trillion.” The Romney campaign seized on the remarks and included them in their new ad.
Additionally, Romney's campaign accuses Obama of planning to raise taxes on the middle class by $4,000 with his own tax plan. This figure comes from a study by the conservative American Enterprise Institute that Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith called “a partisan distortion of a study that has nothing to do with the president’s proposals.”
Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner responded to the new ad by arguing that Romney himself is now being dishonest.
“Whether the Romney campaign likes it or not, independent estimates have confirmed that the specific tax cuts Romney has promised -- including a 20 percent tax cut across-the-board -- would cost $5 trillion,” Kanner said in an e-mail to reporters.
“And independent, nonpartisan analysis also shows that to pay for this plan, he would have to raise taxes on middle class families by cutting popular tax deductions like the mortgage interest deduction. These are the facts of Mitt Romney’s plan and no amount of spin, including mischaracterizing the statements of our campaign staff, can change them.”
The Obama campaign on Sunday released its own web video, "Cameras," that highlights the $5 trillion claim, using a clip of liberal Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein saying on MSNBC: "He's got a tax cut that, if you just implemented it ... it would cost $5 trillion."
The ad also mentions Romney assertions in other areas that it says the news media has found untrue. "When the cameras rolled, a performance began," the voice-over says over footage of the debate. "The problem is, that's all it was."