Bill Clinton Hits Romney on Taxes, Debt in New Hampshire
If Paul D. Ryan had “brass,” then Mitt Romney has “gall.”
That’s the Clintonian take on Mitt Romney for seeming to dismiss 47% of Americans who don’t pay income tax when the Republican hopeful has made use of tax shelters to minimize his own federal burden.
“A guy with a tax account in the Cayman Islands is attacking other people for not wanting to pay income tax?” Bill Clinton asked Wednesday. “That’s like Congressman Ryan attacking President Obama for having the same Medicare savings he did. When you really bust somebody for doing what you did, it takes a lot of gall.”
The former president is shouldering the burden for Obama’s reelection campaign on the day of the first head-to-head presidential debate, appearing on his Democratic successor’s behalf at a college campus in New Hampshire.
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Clinton, who declared himself the “comeback kid” after a second-place finish in the state’s leadoff presidential primary in 1992, sprinkled his remarks here with allusions to that past campaign, most notably when he discussed the national debt.
As a candidate two decades ago, Clinton reminded the crowd, he often talked about the fact that the debt had “quadrupled” under 12 years of Republican rule. During his eight years in the White House, “I gave you four surplus budgets,” Clinton said.
“And then the next eight years it doubled again in times of economic growth. Because trickle-down economics doesn’t work. It doesn’t add up. Arithmetic works better,” he continued, reprising the signature refrain of his Democratic National Convention speech.
Clinton mocked Republicans for harping on the growth of the national debt under Obama, particularly given that Romney has proposed additional tax cuts and refused to specify alternative revenue sources.
“So their debt plan is to make it $7 trillion worse!” he said. “How can you take this seriously?”