The Democratic National Committee just sent around an oppo paper by email suggesting that John McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin had backtracked on McCain’s promise not to raise taxes. This is false. The quote in question is from an interview I conducted. Holtz-Eakin never suggested that McCain would raise taxes. He did say that he now thinks the Obama plan calls for lower overall taxes over ten years. In the context of the interview, Holtz-Eakin was making the argument that Obama’s budget plan was irresponsible because it included a bunch of new spending programs and a net tax cut. I did not think the meaning of the quote was unclear in the story, but I now understand how the DNC misinterpreted the quote. I have asked the DNC to send around a correction.
UPDATE: A DNC official says he will correct the email. And a clarification will be posted in the story itself. And I just got this quote in an email from Holtz-Eakin making McCain’s position on this issue clear:
John McCain has no plans to raise taxes. He has a strong commitment to reverse the fiscal profligacy of the past decade, control spending growth, and balance the budget. Those commitments are clear and stand in contrast to Senator Obama. Barack Obama has an ideologically-driven desire to raise tax rates that leaves the only current source of job growth — small business — at risk. Barack Obama plans to expand the already-rapid growth in spending. And Barack Obama has no plan to balance the budget.
ANOTHER UPDATE: An Obama campaign official counters by pointing to McCain refusing to rule out tax increases as part of a Social Security fix on one of the Sunday shows yesterday. McCain did not endorse the increases either. He just left the door open, for the right reasons–that’s how you get stuff done in Washington, with negotiation, compromise.
MCCAIN: No, I have said and will say, I will say that everything has to be on the table, if we’re going to reach a bipartisan agreement. I’ve been in bipartisan negotiations before. I know how you reach a conclusion. We all have to sit down together with everything on the table.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, that means payroll tax increases are on the table, as well?
MCCAIN: There is nothing that’s off the table. I have my positions, and I’ll articulate them. But nothing’s off the table.