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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Team McCain Unloads on Romney’s Latest Ad



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John McCain responds to Mitt Romney’s ad in New Hampshire:

“If there’s any doubt that we’re doing well, it’s when Mitt Romney starts attacking. He’s attacking Huckabee out here in Iowa. I’m familiar with tailspins and I think he’s in one. Look, on the issue of immigration, my position is clear: We have to secure the borders, the borders have to be secured first. As president I would have the governors in the border states certify that the borders are secure. We learned a lesson and the message is they want the borders secured first. Then we go on to a temporary worker program and addressing the issue comprehensively. Look, I’ve never voted for a tax increase — Governor Romney increased taxes. I don’t know how to respond to a lot of his charges because tomorrow he may have a different position. … [Governor Romney has changed positions] on every issue, it’s a matter of record. And I haven’t changed.”

The fact-checking response from Team McCain, below the fold.

UPDATE: Team Romney says, “Hey, we’ve got a fact sheet too, right here.”

#more#

AD FACTS: MITT ROMNEY, “FUTURE”
 
MITT ROMNEY: “I’m Mitt Romney and I approve this message.” ANNCR: “John McCain, an honorable man. But is he the right Republican for the future? McCain opposes repeal of the death tax. And voted against the Bush tax cuts … twice.”
 
·         McCain Voted Against Bush Tax Cuts Because There Was No Restraint On Spending. “On the tax cuts, there was no restraint on spending. There should have been restraint on spending. If we’d adopted my tax cuts, which had automatic restraints on spending, we’d be talking about more tax cuts now. The reason why the Republicans are in trouble is because out of control spending and the corruption that led to it.” (Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” 10/16/07)
 
·         McCain Supports Making Bush Income And Investment Tax Cuts Permanent. “I stand on my record, and my record is 24 years of opposing tax increases, and I oppose them, and I’ll continue to oppose them. I think it’s very clear that the increase in revenue that we’ve experienced is directly related to the tax cuts that were enacted, and they need to be made permanent rather than the family budgets and businesses being uncertain about their future.” (Fox News Republican Debate, Durham, NH, 9/5/07)
 
·         John McCain Has Repeatedly Voted To Extend Bush Tax Cuts. (S. 2020, CQ Vote #347: Passed 64-33: R 49-4; D 15-28; I 0-1, 11/15/05, McCain Voted Yea; H.R. 4297, CQ Vote #10: Passed 66-31: R 49-4; D 17-26; I 0-1, 2/2/06, McCain Voted Yea; H.R. 4297, CQ Vote #118: Adopted 54-44: R 51-3; D 3-40; I 0-1, 5/11/06, McCain Voted Yea; H.R. 5970, CQ Vote #229: Motion Rejected 56-42: R 52-3; D 4-38; I 0-1, 8/3/06, McCain Voted Yea)
 
·         Romney Refused To Endorse 2003 Bush Tax Cuts, Reportedly Saying He “Won’t Be A Cheerleader” For Programs He Opposed, Drawing Praise From Democrat Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA). “Governor Mitt Romney refused yesterday to endorse tax cuts at the heart of President Bush’s economic program, but he told members of the state’s congressional delegation during a private meeting he also would not oppose the cuts because he has to maintain ‘a solid relationship’ with the White House. … ‘I was very pleased,’ [Rep. Barney] Frank said afterward. ‘Here you have a freshman governor refusing to endorse a tax cut presented by a Republican president at the height of his wartime popularity.’ According to the observer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Romney told the delegation that he ‘won’t be a cheerleader’ for proposals he doesn’t agree with, ‘but I have to keep a solid relationship with the White House.’ Shawn Feddeman, Romney’s spokeswoman, said the governor has neither endorsed nor opposed the tax cut plan because ‘it’s just not a state matter.’” (Wayne Washington and Glen Johnson, “Romney Weighs In — Carefully — On Bush Tax-Cut Plan,” The Boston Globe, 4/11/03)
 
·         Romney Took “No Position” On $30-$40 Million Estate Tax Hike. “Thousands of Bay State residents will soon face higher Massachusetts estate taxes because of the state’s efforts to retain the ‘death tax’ even as the federal government moves to eliminate its levy. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue estimates that a rule change — made as part of last summer’s budget bill — will mean an additional $30 million to $40 million in estate tax revenues will flow into state coffers during fiscal 2004, the first full year in which the new rules are in play. The change in the state’s death tax, which takes effect Jan. 1, initially affects estates worth more than $700,000, according to the Revenue Department. It’s that level that is the key difference between the old and new rules, because $700,000 is below the federal standard, meaning that estates that may be exempt from the federal tax will still owe the state. Under the old rules, the state and federal exemptions were the same. The average taxable estate could end up paying tens of thousands of dollars in additional charges under the new rules, which break the link between the state and the federal tax. … In Massachusetts, the move was made as part of the budget bill passed last summer, but the new rules were not issued until late October. Governor-elect Mitt Romney disagreed with the tax and budget approach taken by the Legislature, but a spokesman for his office said he has no position on the estate tax issue.” (Charles A. Jaffe, “Residents Face Higher Estate Taxes,” The Boston Globe, 11/15/02)
 
ANNCR: “McCain pushed to let every illegal immigrant stay here permanently.
 
·         Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff Estimated That Between 15-20 Percent Of Illegal Immigrants Would Be Disqualified From Acquiring Legal Status, “For Committing Crimes And For Other Reasons.” “Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff … said he expected that about 15 percent to 20 percent of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now in the country would be disqualified for committing crimes or for other reasons.” (Anne C. Mulkern, “Path To A Legal Home Immigration Compromise Focuses On Permanent Residency, Beefed-Up Borders,” The Denver Post, 5/18/07)
 
·         Immigration Reform Compromise Disqualified Thousands Of Illegal Immigrants From Staying In United States, Including Felons And Others Convicted Of Breaking The Law. “The range of crimes that disqualify applicants from the Z visa program extends into the thousands and includes: Any felony; Any three or more misdemeanors; Any serious criminal offense; Crimes involving moral turpitude (with narrow exceptions for certain misdemeanors such as those committed before age 18); Violations of a law relating to a controlled substance.” (The White House, “Immigration Fact Check: Responding To Key Myths,” White House Website, www.whitehouse.gov, 5/25/07)
 
ANNCR: “Even voted to allow illegals to collect Social Security.”
 
·         John McCain Opposes Illegal Immigrants Collecting Social Security Benefits. “Under current law, undocumented immigrants are ineligible for Social Security benefits which I think is entirely appropriate.” (John John McCain, Congressional Record, S4744, 5/18/06)
 
·         Chicago Tribune: McCain-Backed Immigration Reform Bill “Does Not Provide Amnesty Or Social Security To Illegal Immigrants …” (Jill Zuckman, “Plenty Of Mud, Not Much Clarity On Border Debate,” Chicago Tribune, 9/26/06)
 
·         Nonpartisan FactCheck.org: Social Security For Illegal Immigrants Attack Is “Mischaracterization Of An Amendment,” As “Nobody’s Proposing Paying Benefits To Illegals.” “Republicans are tagging Democratic opponents across the country for wanting to ‘give Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants.’ But nobody’s proposing paying benefits to illegals, not until and unless they become US citizens or are granted legal status. The charge is a mischaracterization of an amendment offered during debate of the immigration bill that passed the Senate last May with a healthy bi-partisan majority, 62-36. The amendment would change current law to prevent immigrants from getting credit toward future Social Security benefits from taxes paid before they have legal permission to work.” (“Republican Campaign Theme Debunked: Social Security for Illegal Immigrants,” http://www.factcheck.org, 12/28/07)
 
·         New Hampshire Union Leader On Romney Immigration Attack On McCain: “That Is A Lie.” “Earlier this month Romney sent a flyer to New Hampshire households stating that McCain would grant Social Security benefits to illegal aliens. That is a lie. Both McCain and Romney would grant benefits to immigrants only after they receive citizenship.” (Editorial, “Romney’s Migration: He Shouldn’t Need To Lie,” New Hampshire Union Leader, 12/19/07)
 
·         Fox News’ Chris Wallace: Mitt Romney’s Immigration Attack “Is Not True.” WALLACE: “Let me turn to another subject. Mitt Romney is putting out a mailer in New Hampshire now that says that you support Social Security benefits for illegals, which is not true.” (Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,” 12/26/07)
 
·         Watch Fox News’ Chris Wallace Call Romney’s New Hampshire Mailer “Not True”
 
·         The New York Times: Romney’s New Hampshire Mailer Provides “Misleading Information About [McCain’s] Positions On Immigration.” “The pamphlet goes on to provide misleading information about the rivals’ positions on immigration. It says, for instance, that Mr. McCain supports giving Social Security to illegal immigrants. In truth, Mr. McCain supported legislation that would allow illegal immigrants who come forward, pay fines, then wait their turn to become citizens the chance to collect Social Security — but only after they are citizens.” (Marc Santora, “Romney Goes Negative,” The New York Times’ Caucus Blog, 12/7/07)
 
ANNCR: “And Mitt Romney?  Romney cut taxes and spending as Governor.”
 
·         Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation: More Than $700 Million Per Year In Increased Fees And Taxes Under Romney. “Fees and taxes have increased more than $700 million a year under Governor Mitt Romney and Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, a leading budget specialist said yesterday. Michael J. Widmer — president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which closely tracks state finances — said the state has raised roughly $740 million to $750 million per year by increasing fees and corporate taxes gained from what the Romney administration describes as ‘closing loopholes.’” (Brian Mooney, “Analyst Puts Increase In Fees, Taxes At $700m,” The Boston Globe, 9/27/06)
 
·         “[R]omney  … Approved Hundreds Of Millions In Higher Fees And Fines Including Raising The Cost Of Getting A Marriage License, Filing A Court Case, Buying A House Or Renewing A Drivers License.” (Steve LeBlanc, “Romney, In Change Of Heart, Signs No-New-Taxes Pledge,” The Associated Press, 1/5/07)
 
·         Romney Raised State Fees By Over $500 Million In 2003 Alone, “Far More Than Any Other State In The Nation” That Year. “A 2003 survey of states by the National Conference Of State Legislatures found Massachusetts imposed at least $501.5 million in fee hikes, far more than any other state in the nation that year.” (Steve LeBlanc, “Romney, In Change Of Heart, Signs No-New-Taxes Pledge,” The Associated Press, 1/5/07)
 
·         Cato Institute: Romney’s Claim That He Didn’t Raised Taxes Is “Mostly A Myth.” “[R]omney will likely also be eager to push the message that he was a governor who stood by a no-new-taxes pledge. That’s mostly a myth. His first budget included no general tax increases but did include a $500 million increase in various fees. He later proposed $140 in business tax hikes through the closing of ‘loopholes’ in the tax code.” (Stephen Slivinski, “Fiscal Policy Report Card On America’s Governors: 2006,” Cato Institute, 2006, p. 26)
 
·         Cato: “If you consider the massive costs to taxpayers that his universal health care plan will inflict once he’s left office, Romney’s tenure is clearly not a triumph of small-government activism.” (Stephen Slivinski, “Fiscal Policy Report Card On America’s Governors: 2006,” Cato Institute, 2006, p. 26)
 
·         Romney’s Reforms Of Massachusetts Government “Saved Relatively Little Money.” “In his out-of-state speeches, Romney suggests that the consolidation of state agencies was a major factor in closing the budget gap. But those changes saved relatively little money: Folding 16 human-services agencies into four, a change Romney often cites outside the state, saved about $7 million, according to the administration. Eliminating the Metropolitan District Commission saved about $3.5 million, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-funded nonprofit group that monitors state spending.” (Scott Greenberger, “Romney Often Casts Himself As Budget Hero,” The Boston Globe, 10/24/05)
 
·         Michael Widmer Of The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation: “No Romney reform has saved any meaningful money. It’s all on the margins. The have no connection to the closing of the [budget] gap…” (Scott Greenberger, “Romney Often Casts Himself As Budget Hero,” The Boston Globe, 10/24/05)
 
ANNCR: “He opposes amnesty for illegals.”
 
·         In March 2006, Romney “Expressed Support … For An Immigration Program That Places Large Numbers Of Illegal Residents On The Path Toward Citizenship.” “Gov. Mitt Romney expressed support … for an immigration program that places large numbers of illegal residents on the path toward citizenship … Romney said illegal immigrants should have a chance to obtain citizenship.” (Evan Lehmann, “Romney Supports Immigration Program, But Not Granting ‘Amnesty,’” The Lowell Sun, 3/30/06)
 
·         Romney: “I don’t believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country … With these 11 million people, let’s have them registered, know who they are. Those who’ve been arrested or convicted of crimes shouldn’t be here; those that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship, as they would from their home country.” (Evan Lehmann, “Romney Supports Immigration Program, But Not Granting ‘Amnesty,’” The Lowell Sun, 3/30/06)
 
·         Romney Said Republicans Who Broke With President Bush On Immigration “Made A Big Mistake.” “[M]assachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Has Made It Known That He Supports The President’s Immigration Position, Saying That Republicans Who Have Broken Rank With Bush ‘Made A Big Mistake.’” (Liz Sidoti, “McCain May Alienate Some Conservatives,” The Associated Press, 9/20/06)
 
·         In November 2005, Romney Spoke “Approvingly Of Efforts By McCain And Bush To Solve The Nation’s Immigration Crisis,” Calling McCain’s Proposal “Quite Different” From Amnesty And Deeming It “Reasonable.” “When Mitt Romney swooped into the heart of John McCain country this week, he brought a pointed message on illegal immigration: McCain’s approach is the wrong one. … But that is markedly different from how Romney once characterized McCain’s bill, elements of which are receiving new attention in Congress and from President Bush. … In a November 2005 interview with the Globe, Romney described immigration proposals by McCain and others as ‘quite different’ from amnesty, because they required illegal immigrants to register with the government, work for years, pay taxes, not take public benefits, and pay a fine before applying for citizenship.” (Scott Helman, “Romney’s Words Grow Hard On Immigration,” The Boston Globe, 3/16/07)
 
·         Romney: “I think an amnesty program is what — which is all the illegal immigrants who are here are now citizens, and walk up and get your citizenship. What the president has proposed, and what Senator McCain and Cornyn have proposed, are quite different than that. They require people signing up for a — well, registering and receiving a, if you will, a number — a registration number. Then working here for six years and paying taxes — not taking benefits. Health, Medicaid, food stamps and so forth, not taking benefits. And then at the end of that period, registering to become a citizen, or applying to become a citizen and paying a fee. And those are things that are being considered. And I think that that’s — that those are reasonable proposals.” (Audio: www.boston.com, Scott Helman, “Romney’s Words Grow Hard On Immigration,” The Boston Globe, 3/16/07)
 
·         Listen To Romney Call McCain Immigration Position “Reasonable” And “Quite Different” From Amnesty


Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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