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Romney accuses McCain of `failing' Reagan's legacy by opposing Bush's tax cuts

Romney accuses McCain of `failing' Reagan's legacy by opposing Bush's tax cuts

Taking aim at a rallying John McCain, New Hampshire front-runner Mitt Romney said Saturday that his Republican presidential rival had failed to follow in the path of President Reagan by twice opposing President George W. Bush's tax cuts.
Romney also sought to turn McCain's well-known maverick streak _ a central theme in his campaign ads _ against the Arizona senator. McCain's go-it-alone attitude, Romney suggested, will breed more divisiveness in Washington if he wins.
"Anyone who's run something, whether it's a small business or a big business, knows that the No. 1 ingredient for success is building a remarkable team of people around you, motivating them, guiding them, insisting on them drawing out their best capacities," Romney told a crowd of more than 100 people at an elementary school.
"I've had occasions to run business, to run the Olympics and to run a state, and you don't do that by yourself," said Romney, a former Massachusetts governor.
Taxes, a major focus in New Hampshire which does not have a state income tax, drew Romney's attention in his criticism of McCain.
"He voted against the Bush tax cuts _ twice," Romney said. "That's failing Reagan 101. (Ronald) Reagan taught ... almost all of us in the Republican Party that lowering taxes would grow the economy and was good for our economy and good for individuals. And I believe that the Republicans are going to nominate a tax-cutter to become president of the United States."
McCain's national political director, Michael Dennehy, responded by saying, "Tough words coming from the man who raised taxes $700 million in Massachusetts and said he 'doesn't want to go back to Reagan-Bush.'" I am confident that voters will see through Mitt Romney's double-talk and support the real straight talk conservative, John McCain."
In 2000, McCain beat Bush in the New Hampshire primary, and the two later squared off over the president's tax-cut policy.
The attacks on McCain come as the latest public opinion survey shows the lawmaker gaining on Romney, who long held double-digit leads in New Hampshire. Those questioned in the USA Today/Gallup Poll said they liked McCain for standing up for his beliefs and being in touch with average people, but Romney for having new ideas to solve problems and sharing voters' values.
Romney's criticism could open him up to a line attack about his own position on the tax cuts.
McCain was one of two Republican senators to vote against a $1.35 trillion tax cut that Bush proposed in 2001. McCain also voted against similar plans in 2003, as well as a proposed repeal of the federal estate tax. McCain said they disproportionately benefited the wealthy.
At the time of the latter votes, Romney was in his first stint in elective office, leading Massachusetts.
The Boston Globe reported that year that during a meeting in Washington with the Massachusetts congressional delegation, Romney was asked about the tax cuts and said he "won't be a cheerleader" for proposals he did not agree with. "But I have to keep a solid relationship with the White House."
Now, Romney is solidly behind the cuts, arguing they should be made permanent before they expire in 2011.
The Jan. 8 New Hampshire primary is a critical early test for presidential candidates as voters begin choosing delegates to their party's national nominating convention later in the summer. The top finishers gain momentum for the next round of primaries and caucuses while the losers come under pressure to drop out of the race.


Updated : 2021-04-13 10:36 GMT+08:00