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Mitt Romney defends his stance on taxes, rejecting revenue hike

Mitt Romney reiterated his position Sunday and drew clear lines of contrast with President Obama, who has encouraged Americans to consider tax hikes on the wealthy.

By Staff writer / June 18, 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, gestures during a campaign stop at Monterey Mills on Monday, June 18, in Janesville, Wis.

Evan Vucci/AP


During a bus tour of potentially pivotal heartland states, Mitt Romney is drawing clear lines of contrast with President Obama on taxes: The Republican challenger says that as president, he would reject a budget fix that calls for new taxes as part of the mix.

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In an appearance on CBS's “Face the Nation” Sunday, during a campaign stop in Pennsylvania, Mr. Romney was asked if he would agree to a deficit-reduction plan that involves $1 in new taxes for every $10 in spending cuts.

The former Massachusetts governor said he wouldn't, reaffirming a position he had taken during debates with other contenders for the Republican nomination.

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That position stands in stark contrast with the White House incumbent on one of the central issues in the presidential race. Mr. Obama has called for addressing chronic budget deficits with a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes – especially by calling on the wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes.

"Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?" Obama asked in his State of the Union address in January. "Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else – like education and medical research, a strong military and care for our veterans? Because if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do both."

The fight over taxes sets up a tug and pull for voter hearts. Many Americans are sympathetic to the argument that it's not realistic to solve chronic budget deficits without some tax hikes alongside spending cuts. For instance, polls have found majority support for tax hikes on the rich, such as by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for households earning more than $250,000.

At the same time, Romney may be able to lure swing voters to his side, with an argument based on job growth and reining in the size of government.

"This is all about creating good jobs," Romney said of his economic plan Sunday. He said that his plan is to bring federal spending down from 25 percent of gross domestic product to 20 percent, and that taming the size of government will translate into "getting people back to work with rising incomes again."


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