Biden on higher taxes: Be a patriot!

Jake Turcotte

Just when polls show the Obama campaign is moving back up in the polls, the Democratic nominee for vice president links higher taxes to being a patriot.

Although Joe Biden was discussing the Democratic ticket's plan to hike taxes on just those making more than $250,000 per year, the sound bite was just too rich for the McCain campaign not to pounce on.


In an interview yesterday with Good Morning America's Kate Snow, Biden was discussing taxes – an issue the Republicans want front and center. Although Biden didn't have a Carly Fiorina moment, he let slip what could be called a minor "Bidenism."

Biden:  There's a fundamental philosophy difference here.  Take a look.  We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle class people.

Snow:  Anyone making over $250,000 a year...

Biden: going to pay more.  You got it.  It's time to be patriotic, Kate.  Time to jump in.  Time to be part of the deal. Time to help America get out of the rut.

Patriot games

The McCain campaign jumped on it.  The top of the GOP ticket, John McCain (at least for now – explanation follows), called Biden's statement "dumb."

"Raising taxes in a tough economy isn't patriotic," McCain told a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "It's not a badge of honor. It's just plain dumb. . . . I'm not going to let that happen."

Running mate, Sarah Palin, agreed (before announcing she was replacing McCain as the presidential nominee).

"Our opponents may have some strange ideas about raising taxes. To them raising taxes and Joe Biden said it again today raising taxes is about patriotism," Palin said.  "To the rest of America that’s not patriotism. Raising taxes is about killing jobs and hurting small businesses and making things worse. This isn’t about anyone’s patriotism. It’s about Barack Obama’s poor judgment."


Palin then focused on the effect taxes have on small business while describing what "her" administration would do.

"Our family knows that the best way to help is to take less from them [small business owners] and leave more for them so they can expand and be creative, " Palin continued.  "And that's what we're going to do in a Palin-McCain administration."



Biden didn't walk away from his remarks on the morning news program. At a rally in Akron, Biden clarified what he meant.

"John McCain's making fun of the fact that I said paying taxes is patriotic," Biden said. "What I said was when a woman asked me, what do I tell people making over $250,000 a year that their taxes are going to go back to where they were with Reagan, which is a lot lower – lower than they were at Reagan, what do I tell them? I said tell them it's time to be patriotic.”

Wrong focus

The media is wrong. So says Ed Morrissey over at, a conservative blog.  Morrisey's complaint is that the media only focuses on one part of Obama's tax plan:   income tax.  Morrissey said the media forgets about Obama's plans for hiking capital gains rates and corporate taxes.

"They never mention that 70% of the country is in the investor class now and will run afoul of the new capital-gains tax rates, or that higher corporate taxes mean higher prices — and more companies relocating outside the US," Morrissey writes.  "Does Obama think that businesses just eat costs?  Either prices go up or jobs get cut, the same as they do when Congress arbitrarily raises labor costs by increasing the minimum wage."

New ad

If, in fact, the media does get it wrong, the McCain campaign will just work around them launching a new ad this morning called "Patriotic Act" complete with flag-waving music and fireworks.

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