Campaign 2012

Romney: Extend Bush Tax Cuts

GOP candidate says election winner shouldn’t have to immediately face fiscal cliff.

Rebecca Kaplan
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Rebecca Kaplan
July 23, 2012, 2:33 p.m.

COSTA MESA, Cal­if. — Pre­sumptive Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee Mitt Rom­ney sup­ports ex­tend­ing the Bush tax cuts to give the win­ner of the 2012 elec­tion time to put policies in place without fa­cing the so-called fisc­al cliff in Janu­ary.

No mat­ter who is elec­ted in Novem­ber, Rom­ney told CN­BC’s Larry Kud­low in an in­ter­view air­ing on Monday night, the win­ner should have “at least six months or a year” to put policies in place without fa­cing the loom­ing spend­ing cuts and tax hikes that would be set to kick in two months later if law­makers do not act. “Let’s ex­tend where we are now, as op­posed to look­ing at a cliff in Janu­ary that would cause, well, real dis­tress for the eco­nomy,” Rom­ney said.

“What I’m say­ing is, don’t raise taxes,” he said by way of elab­or­a­tion, adding that he would ul­ti­mately pro­pose re­form­ing the tax code by bring­ing rates down across the board.

Rom­ney also said he would lim­it de­duc­tions and ex­emp­tions “so that the highest-in­come people con­tin­ue to pay the share that they’re pay­ing now…. I’m not look­ing for tax breaks for high-in­come folks, but I am look­ing for more money be­ing kept in small busi­ness so we can hire more people and pay bet­ter wages,” he said.

Rom­ney also de­fen­ded his con­tinu­ing at­tacks over Pres­id­ent Obama’s state­ment to busi­ness own­ers that they didn’t cre­ate their com­pan­ies en­tirely on their own. He ar­gued that the con­text — in which Obama was say­ing that they were aided by gov­ern­ment in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture and oth­er pro­grams — is worse than the quote.

“This is an ideo­logy which says, ‘Hey, we’re all the same here, we ought to take from all and give to one an­oth­er and that achieve­ment, in­di­vidu­al ini­ti­at­ive and risk-tak­ing and suc­cess are not to be re­war­ded as they have in the past,’ ” he said. “It’s a very strange and in some re­spects for­eign to the Amer­ic­an ex­per­i­ence type of philo­sophy.

“We have al­ways been a na­tion that has cel­eb­rated suc­cess of vari­ous kinds. The kid that gets the hon­or roll, the in­di­vidu­al work­er that gets a pro­mo­tion, the per­son that gets a bet­ter job. And in fact, the per­son that builds a busi­ness. And by the way, if you have a busi­ness and you star­ted it, you did build it. And you de­serve cred­it for that. It was not built for you by gov­ern­ment.”

Rom­ney also waded in­to the is­sue of gun con­trol, a sub­ject of de­bate after last week’s deadly shoot­ing in Au­rora, Colo. While Rom­ney dis­cour­aged dis­cuss­ing the polit­ics as­so­ci­ated with the shoot­ing, he did say that he didn’t be­lieve new laws would have made a dif­fer­ence.

“There are — were, of course — very strin­gent laws which ex­is­ted in Au­rora, Col­or­ado. Our chal­lenge is not the laws, our chal­lenge is people who, ob­vi­ously, are dis­trac­ted from real­ity and do un­think­able, un­ima­gin­able, in­ex­plic­able things,” he said.

Ahead of a for­eign trip planned for this week, Rom­ney was highly crit­ic­al of Obama’s hand­ling of the pro­trac­ted con­flict in Syr­ia. “I think from the very be­gin­ning we mis­read the set­ting in Syr­ia. The sec­ret­ary of State said that [Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar] al-As­sad was a re­former. That’s a phrase which will ob­vi­ously go down in his­tory as be­ing poorly timed and en­tirely in­ac­cur­ate,” he said.

While he called for more as­sert­ive lead­er­ship — “There’s no ques­tion but that As­sad has to go,” he said — he did not provide fur­ther de­tails on ex­actly how he might have handled the con­flict dif­fer­ently.

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