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Tax cut deal: What do GOP's 2012 presidential contenders think?

Presumptive GOP presidential contenders Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee diverge on whether the tax cut deal Republicans struck with President Obama is a good thing.

By Staff writer / December 15, 2010

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin talks to the press at the Titanyan Global Outreach Samaritan’s Purse compound in Cabaret, Haiti, on Dec. 12. What do the GOP's presumptive presidential candidates, Palin, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee, think about their party striking a tax cut deal with President Obama?

Guillermo Arias/AP

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What do the GOP's potential 2012 presidential candidates think about their party striking a tax cut compromise with President Obama?

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We’re talking about people who (probably) want Obama’s job, after all – even if they have yet to officially announce that they will soon have an official announcement about whether they will set up a PAC to fund further consideration of their potential White House aspirations.

Plus, the way the compromise tax bill is set up, the extension of Bush-era tax cuts for everybody would expire in two years. That means that tax cuts – for the wealthy and otherwise – will likely be a hot issue in the 2012 campaign.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appears to have noticed this. He’s bolted out of the starting gate and veered off to flank other GOP contenders on the right, to mix a few metaphors. He opposes the tax cut compromise because it does not go far enough.

Mr. Romney wrote in a USA Today opinion piece on Tuesday that the compromise is “a disappointing agreement,” largely because it does not make permanent the Bush tax cut extension.

Uncertainty about what will happen to tax rates in two years will cause entrepreneurs to refrain from starting ventures that the reductions otherwise might have spurred, according to Romney. Current employers might not expand for the same reason.

“So while the tax deal will succeed in temporarily putting more money in the hands of consumers, it will fail to deliver its full potential for creating lasting growth,” writes Romney.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin appears to share Romney’s views to some extent, though she has not expressed her opinion in such a detailed manner. Ms. Palin is a tea party favorite, and many tea party adherents don’t like the deal because it expands the deficit.

In a tweet the a few days ago, Palin wrote: “Obviously Obama is so very, very wrong on the economy ... fiscal conservatives, we expect you to fight for us & America’s solvency."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, on the other hand, has defended the bill in recent interviews. So has Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who called the compromise a “good deal ... one the president is wise to have made” on Fox News the other day.

Does that make Huckabee and Gingrich centrists, at least in terms of the 2012 GOP spectrum?

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty supports it, too. (Don’t know who he is? Didn’t know he’s considered a possible 2012 contender? The Great Mentioner of US politics works in mysterious ways.)

“It’s not the package I would have negotiated, but overall we need to make sure those taxes don’t go up,” said Mr. Pawlenty Tuesday on CNN.

There are a few other GOP aspirants out there who’ve spoken up on this, but we won’t bother with them until they break the two percent barrier in the polls. Yes, we’re talking about you, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota.

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