Obama goes on offensive over taxes on wealthy

By Amie Parnes -The Hill

BOCA RATON, Fla.— President Obama intensified his populist pitch Tuesday, aggressively making the case that the wealthiest Americans should pay more in taxes and taking Republicans to task for opposing the “Buffett Rule.”

Speaking just minutes after Rick Santorum dropped out of the GOP presidential contest, Obama drew a distinct contrast with Mitt Romney without mentioning the GOP front-runner by name and attempted to portray himself as more in touch with middle-class voters at a time when some doubt that his policies have helped the economy.

Romney’s campaign fought back with a pre-buttle, setting up a conference call with reporters where surrogates for Romney blasted Obama’s handling of the economy while pointing to job losses under his administration.

 

The back-and-forth in the shadow of Santorum’s announcement highlighted the fact that the 2012 election has firmly shifted from GOP primaries to a general-election battle between Obama and Romney.

Democrats have been pushing the tax issue for months, but as the general election begins, the Obama campaign is taking the issue to a fever pitch.

It believes the Buffett Rule can be an effective political weapon against Romney, whose 2010 tax returns show he and his wife, Ann, paid a 14 percent tax rate on $27 million in income. Much of Romney’s income came from capital gains, which has a 15 percent tax rate.

Obama took aim at Republicans for “doubling down” on the same economic policies he said led to the recession, and touted the Buffett Rule, which states that millionaires should pay at least as high a tax rate as the middle class.

“You might have heard of this,” Obama said in his remarks, before a crowd of faculty and students at Florida Atlantic University. “But Warren Buffett is paying a lower tax rate than his secretary.

“Now, that’s wrong,” he added. “That’s not fair, and so we’ve got to choose which direction we want to go in as a country. Do we want to keep giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans like me or Warren Buffett or Bill Gates? People who don’t need them and never ask for them? Or do we want to keep investing in things that will grow our economy and keep us secure? That’s the choice.”

To read more, visit: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/220793-obama-makes-case-for-higher-taxes-on-wealthy

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