Echoing GOP attack line, Blitzer referred to "the class warfare argument that the Democrats make"

››› ››› ANNE SMITH

On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer described opposition to President Bush's 2001 tax cuts on the grounds that "so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief" as "almost like the class warfare argument that the Democrats make," echoing an attack Republicans commonly use against Democratic positions.

On the February 3 edition of CNN's Late Edition, host Wolf Blitzer described opposition to President Bush's 2001 tax cuts on the grounds that "so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief" as "almost like the class warfare argument that the Democrats make." Blitzer's reference echoes a Republican attack line that Democratic positions on taxes and the economy amount to "class warfare."

Blitzer's remarks came during an interview with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. After reading two quotes from 2001 in which Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) justified his vote against President Bush's tax cuts, Blitzer asserted that "a lot of people suggest that that's [McCain's justification for his vote] almost like the class warfare argument that the Democrats make -- the rich people don't need tax cuts, the middle class, the poor people need tax cuts." Blitzer then asked Huckabee: "What do you say about those arguments that he made then in justifying his vote against President Bush's tax cut?"

In a May 2001 statement, McCain justified his vote against the final version of Bush's initial tax-cut package, saying, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief."

However, McCain has reversed his position on the Bush tax cuts and now favors making them permanent. Further, as Media Matters for America has documented, McCain has revised his explanation for voting against the Bush tax cuts and has repeatedly asserted -- and media outlets have uncritically reported -- that he voted against them because they were not accompanied by cuts in federal spending. Blitzer did not note that McCain now supports making the tax cuts permanent or that he has revised his justification for voting against them in 2001.

From the February 3 edition of CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer:

BLITZER: In 2001, when John McCain voted against President Bush's tax cuts, he was one of two Republican senators to do so, including Lincoln Chafee, the former Republican senator from Rhode Island.

In justifying his nay vote on the Senate floor, he said these two things. On May 21st, 2001, McCain said: "The principle that guides my judgment of a tax reconciliation bill is tax relief for those who need it the most, lower- and middle-income working families."

And then on May 26th, he said: "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief."

Now, a lot of people suggest that that's almost like the class warfare argument that the Democrats make -- the rich people don't need tax cuts, the middle class, the poor people need tax cuts.

What do you say about those arguments that he made then in justifying his vote against President Bush's tax cut?

HUCKABEE: Well, I supported the president's tax cuts then. I support them now. I think anytime you can cut taxes, it's a good thing. And I don't believe that those tax cuts only affected those at the top.

But certainly, good tax policy ought to even things out for everybody. It's the reason I support the FairTax, which is a whole lot better than just cutting a few taxes here and there and making winners and losers.

It's the reason that a completely new tax approach is really preferable, because it empowers everyone in the economy, those from the top to the bottom. But the people at the bottom actually end up getting the best deal out of the FairTax. So I hope more people will start looking at it and realizing that's the direction we really need to go.

Posted In
Economy, Taxes
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Wolf Blitzer
Show/Publication
Late Edition
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