A couple of weeks ago, former President Clinton raised concerns about raising taxes when the economy is still struggling. A wide variety of media outlets — Politico, USA Today, Time’s Mark Halperin — pounced, presenting it as evidence of Clinton breaking with President Obama, whose debt-reduction plan relies on tax increases on the wealthy.
The media, however, was wrong. Not only did the same quote decry spending cuts — a detail news organizations ignored — but more importantly, Obama and Clinton both support the same approach to tax policy. Neither want to see increases now, but both support increases later.
The news outlets that screwed this up were very likely fed a misleading story by Republican attack dogs like Karl Rove. And as it turns out, Rove’s attack operation, American Crossroads, is using Clinton’s quote in a new ad. The spot, running in Missouri, shows the former president saying, “I personally don’t believe we ought to be raising taxes, it won’t solve the problem.”
Rove, just as he’s done throughout his career, simply assumes Americans won’t know the difference. For what it’s worth, Clinton is making an effort to set the record straight.
“The Republican group American Crossroads has used a quote from me in a video opposing President Obama’s jobs plan and the ‘Buffett Rule,'” [Clinton] said in the statement provided to Politico.
“The advertisement implies that I opposed the ‘Buffett Rule.’ In fact, I support both the American Jobs Act and the ‘Buffett Rule.’ I believe that it’s only fair to ask those of us in high-income groups — who have received the primary benefits of the last decade’s economic growth and the majority of its tax cuts as well — to contribute to solving our long term debt problem.”
And Clinton added a clarification, in case his point remained unclear.
“What I did say was that the ‘Buffett Rule’ cannot solve the problem alone. Reducing the debt requires three things: more economic growth, more spending cuts, and more revenue,” he said.
Sounding a lot like the current president, Clinton asserted, “Right now, the most important thing is to put America back to work. That’s why I support the American Jobs Act.”
I’m sure Rove, always a man of integrity and character, will be eager to pull the attack ad, so as to not mislead the public, right?