Obama to push Buffett Rule in Florida, target Romney
PRESIDENT Barack Obama’s campaign team attacked his likely Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, on Tuesday for not paying his “fair share” of taxes ahead of a speech by the president on why millionaires should bear a larger tax burden.
Obama, who has made tax fairness a key part of his reelection message, travels to Florida where he will urge support for the Buffett Rule, named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
It calls for people making over $1 million a year to be taxed at a higher rate than middle-class families.
Republicans dismissed the speech as a political stunt and complain that increasing taxes on the wealthy would do nothing to create jobs or lower gasoline prices at the pump, which are the issues they say ordinary Americans care most about.
Obama’s populist message is a clear swipe at Romney, the wealthy Republican frontrunner likely to face him in the November 6 election, as the Democratic president seeks to appeal to blue-collar voters he will need to win a second term.
“Mitt Romney opposes the Buffett Rule - he thinks millionaires and billionaires should keep paying lower tax rates than middle-class families.
In fact, Romney himself isn’t paying his fair share,” the Obama campaign said in a statement.
One of the richest men ever to seek the White House, Romney paid an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent in 2010 on more than $21 million in income. Obama’s campaign is anxious to paint him as elitist and out of touch with ordinary Americans.
Obama’s speech, in a vital election battleground state, comes ahead of a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate on the Buffett Rule on April 16, the day before the income tax filing deadline.
Even if it passes the Senate it is unlikely to make it through the House of Representatives, which is in Republican hands.
Republicans oppose the measure and said it showed their opponents were trying to distract voters from their failure to boost growth or curb high unemployment.
“This is yet another sign that they’re out of ideas and simply focused on tax hike show-votes,” said Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican.