Romney’s Move to the Middle

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Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Mitt Romney speaks during a victory rally in St Petersburg, Florida on October 5, 2012.

Mitt Romney’s tack toward the political center continues apace. During a campaign swing through Iowa and Ohio on Tuesday, Romney made several overtures to key demographic groups who may be anxious about the impact of his polices. 

In an interview with the Des Moines Register‘s editorial board, Romney couched his pro-life position in softer-than-usual terms. “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” Romney said. This line leaves him ample wiggle room to pursue anti-abortion policy, of course, and his campaign says Romney “would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.” But Romney’s statement may nonetheless have been reassuring to many women, a demographic group with whom he trailed badly all year until his strong debate performance last week.

As the campaigns spar over the upshot of Romney’s tax plan, the Republican nominee filled in his framework with a few key specifics Tuesday. Romney has long said he would pay for the 20% across-the-board tax cut he’s promised in part by closing loopholes and limiting deductions. This led the economists with the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center to conclude, in a white paper that made a star turn at the first presidential debate, that middle-class Americans would be negatively impacted by Romney’s plan, since they are the primary beneficiaries of the costly deductions and credits that Romney would be likely to jettison. But during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Romney singled out two prominent deductions, promising that they’d be spared the ax: “Home mortgage interest deductions and charitable contributions, there will of course continue to be preferences for those types of expenses,” he said.

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Such pledges make it that much more difficult for Romney’s fuzzy math to add up; the more options he takes off the table, the harder he’d find it to meet his goal of doling out all these tax cuts without adding to the deficit. As William Gale, one of the authors of the Tax Policy Center study, wrote yesterday: “Romney has now also said that he does not want to raise taxes on the middle class and does not want to cut them for high-income households. Those seem like reasonable goals, but they don’t break the knot. They simply add two more constraints to the list of goals he would like to achieve and makes the list even more impossible (if there is such a thing) to achieve jointly than the earlier list.”

So why aren’t conservatives grumbling about Romney’s softer line on abortion — delivered in Evangelical Iowa, no less — or his amorphous math? Winning feels good. If the polls move against Romney, the knives will surely come out again.

88 comments
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Kevin
Kevin

Trim T. Money wants more serfs for the 1%, but that's up to you.

Lar5
Lar5

It's much more than abortion,it's principles. Romney, Ryan and the GOP have a very horrible agenda to take back their country to the time of lily white Christian control of everyone's life. They want to push women, blacks,Latinos and other ethnics back to where the zealots of the right believe they belong. The want to go back to a time that was comfortable only for them.The GOP does not believe "all men and women are created equal'. They are very comfortable herding people to the back of the bus. That's their unprincipled agenda.

Benevolent_Lawyer
Benevolent_Lawyer

The thing that bears watching is whether Romney is moving the needle when

it comes to his basic image problems: 47%ers, empathy, the middle class.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

(edit - reply meant for Ivy, disqus strikes again)

Actually, I've already voted - early voting! Obama was the easy pick as my goal is to keep Romney out of the WH. Don't let him pick next SCOTUS or start new wars. Nearly all of my relatives are conservatives so I try to persuade them to NOT vote for Romney (thus the Johnson maneuver for another Perot effect to help Obama). When I voted, the D's had volunteers handing out ballot picks in the parking lot. No R's were present. The flyer was quite useful as judges endorsed by D's were listed and the voting machine ballot did not list judges by party.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Sounds good!!

radsenior
radsenior

Romney is pure hubris with a silver spoon to extract himself out of his rectum. Repeated 180's is making me dizzy. He's not a real conservative at all, he's a cameleon seeking higher office to best his father. But his father released ten years of tax returns to show he wasn't hiding a thing. So what is Romney hiding? Inquisitive minds want to know!

CarolinaVoter2012
CarolinaVoter2012

 

While in Iowa yesterday, Romney attempted to try on being a

moderate Republican again by misleadingly saying he doesn’t have any

anti-abortion legislation planned as part of his administration.  First off, he’s lying or, at the very best,

fudging the truth.  He has said

repeatedly he wants to defund Planned Parenthood because of its support of

women’s right to safe abortions.  It is

possible that he can do this with an executive order – so no legislation needed

at all.  BUT, he has supported proposed

legislation that would do this as well.  

Further, he has said he wants Roe v. Wade overturned – again, no

legislation needed – he just needs to appoint another conservative judge to the

court.    Romney also supported some

legislation, the Blunt Amendment, which allows employers to limit the coverage

of contraception to its employees – including the day-after-pill.    Paul

Ryan is adamantly opposed to abortion under any circumstances including rape or

incest.   After trying on this more

moderate position for 24 hours or so, Mitt had to Etch-A-Sketch yet again.   This afternoon he announced he is a “pro-life

candidate” and campaign officials reiterated that Romney would support a

current House bill that would make permanent a budget amendment that bans

federal spending for abortion.

sacredh
sacredh

Romney's move to the middle is verbal. That's all it is.

sacredh
sacredh

Silver has Obama's chances at 67.9% to win the election and have 294 electoral votes. Would anyone really want Mitt's chances right now? What I don't understand is the concern. Obama's chances are 2-1. That's horrible? We're supposed to lose sleep over that? Mitt still has an uphill climb.

dunedweller
dunedweller

One of the most depressing things in this election is seeing the polls rise after Romney's debate performance.. really?!! It amazes me how shallow people are. This isn't Dancing With The Stars people, it's a presidential election! Having a good night should not earn your vote. Policy plans, vision and character should. Both candidates have weaknesses and neither are perfect, but PLEASE think about what is important to you and study up to learn which candidate will work to provide it! They both have websites that list their plans. Just remember to hit “refresh” if you visit Romney’s more than once because apparently it changes a lot.

sacredh
sacredh

I don't understand all of the worry after just one debate. Romney got a really nice bounce. He got about the same bounce that Obama got after the convention. The convention bounce faded after a 2-3 weeks. There's another debate the 16th. I'll be concerned if Obama loses that debate. There's another one after that.

dunedweller
dunedweller

I gotcha. I think Obama will step up his game in the next debates and I'm not really worried per se, it's just a bit depressing that voters (polled) actually rewarded the candidate who best performed deception.

sacredh
sacredh

It's sad, but we live in the era of low information voters that haven't got a memory span much beyond that of a bumper sticker length. What I do wonder is if the people that were swayed by just that one debate were looking for a reason, any reason, to fall into Mitt's camp. I'll be paying close attention after the second debate if it changes many minds.

Brandt Hardin
Brandt Hardin

Is there any doubt a Romney administration would favor the rich and increase the income gap in our country? Mitt is a pariah in Mormon Clothing and will stop at nothing to expand an empire of greed for the rich in this country by expanding tax cuts for the 1% of the wealthiest Americans. He’s out to gut the Middle Class for every red cent he can get. Will his sacred Mormon underwear grant him the protection and money to buy this election? See for yourself as Mitt dons his tighty-whities sent down from the Good Lord Himself at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot...

miki801
miki801

Romney's math education must have been like his science education which left him wondering why  opening the wndows in an airplane does not work.  Romney has no intention of telling us what is in his tax plan.  It is like Ann said when someone pressed her about their taxe return, You people, that's all you're going to get.  Doubling down on trickle down will make the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  Trickle down does not lift all boats, only the yachts.

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

I had to google the airplane windows — I completely missed that last month.

"When you have a fire in an aircraft, there's no place to go, exactly, there's no – and you can't find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don't open. I don't know why they don't do that. It's a real problem. "

T Marq
T Marq

So, let me get this straight, the Twit has moved to the middle; and he did this in less than a week, what's so amazing about that? In watching this guy, the only thing you can be sure of is that he knows he's on a swaying Titanic after it had hit the iceberg.

His back and forth motions have made me seasick, but as I understand it, when a ship sways so much, he's probably heading for the "greed and special interest only" lifeboat.  Once on that boat, he can laugh all the way to the bank as he watches everyone else sink.

frankblank
frankblank

With his constant flips, flops, and self-contradictions, Romney has done the almost-impossible. He has demonstrated that everything he has said, everything he is saying, and everything he will say is probably, with a 99.5 percent probability, a lie.

He's also done the unusual: selected a running mate who, despite lauding his won religion, has been condemned as immoral by leading prelates of that very religion.

A winning pair for America's neo-Fascist Future! Romney 1040!

akpat
akpat

It is not possible to balance the budget without a huge real cut in military spending like perhaps 50%. It also requires a 100% cut in pork and a 50% cut in non SS/med entitlements. AND then it requires a rise in taxes.

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

OR a cut in SS/Medicare entitlements. I turned 66 last year, and I'm beginning to appreciate how the older generation, through their high voter turnout, have rigged the system in their favor. The biggest problem we are facing is that everybody agrees we need to make changes to reduce the deficit, but almost everybody thinks the changes should apply to someone else.

Tonight I listened to clips of Romney saying he's going to cut taxes 20% for everybody, preserve popular deductions like mortgage interest, maintain Social Security and Medicare benefits, retain the best parts of Obamacare, and increase military spending — all without increasing the deficit. I'm surprised he didn't promise two chickens in every pot.

PrayAmerica2012
PrayAmerica2012

Hudson Valley Tim,

And that would be a budget put out by Obama??? Did I miss something!!!

akpat
akpat

 The house is responsible for the budget. It has to pass the senate. It was a dead duck because the only thing the republicans can think of ia more abortion restrictions and lowering the taxes on the rich, who are after all the people with the money:)

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

Apparently you did. Obama has included operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in each of his budgets, only signing emergency supplements when necessary due to strategic changes (like the surge in Af.). This is in stark contrast to Dubya, who funded virtually the entire ticket for both wars with supplements and emergency spending bills. Check-out Politifact.Com...it's right there.

LukeVA
LukeVA

Romney should propose creating the same tax rate for all income (wage, capital gains, dividends, carried interest, corporate tax rates).  Whatever that number is, he can raise the 15% rates up and lower the personal rates to generate the same revenues. By doing so, the rich who benefit the most from the lower capital gains, dividend, and carried interest rates will pay more and everyone, including the rich, will pay less for wage income. This would help the real job creators, small businesses, who are usually taxed at the personal rates through their S Corp or LLC. It would be fair to say all income should be taxed the same, address the Buffet issue, and stop the silliness of categorizing income into preferential income streams.

akpat
akpat

 Mitt would not go for a flat tax like that it is against his interest to do so. He shore has a conflict of interest there. Same with complaining about Russia and China. How he can do this I dont know as he has large sums invested in both.

LukeVA
LukeVA

I'm not suggesting a flat tax. It would still be a progressive scale. It just wouldn't matter on the source of the income. Of course, stopping the ability to shift income offshore beyond the reach of our tax system, even when the revenues are from the US is a separate issue that needs to be addressed.

Gary McCray
Gary McCray

Watching Mitt campaign is a lot like watching the Courtroom song and dance in the movie Chicago.

And just about as honest.

And if you think Mitt the Mormon and his gang are going to support or even tolerate freedom of choice once he is elected I have no doubt you will get exactly what you deserve.

My honest belief is that no matter what we do the Corporate corruption of America has doomed us to "Collapse" and from at least some standpoints it might be better to get it over with sooner rather than later.

In this regard Mitt will assuredly get the job done as quickly as possible.

filmnoia
filmnoia

While I share your "realism" or "despair" whatever the case may be, just think how many millions of people will have their lives destroyed if we let the corporate corruption happen. In that sense I guess it wouldn't be much different than when Bain Capital took over a company and decimated it - "destroying the village to save it."

MrObvious
MrObvious

I wonder whos hoping for Tabula Rasa here - Romney pretending that he have a centrist policy in mind or voters viewing him as some kind of centrist republican?

A4O4
A4O4

Romney will move into his mom's grave if needed, to get elected, let alone middle.

He never stood for anything besides tax cut for himself (and people like him), and any other stance on anything is dependent on the day and the audience to get vote.

That does not surprise me. What surprised me is that when he showed he can lie better than he can breathe in the debates, his poll numbers went up?

Can people be anymore dumber than this?

filmnoia
filmnoia

Naw, if he moved into his mom's grave he'd be so comfy that he'd stay there.