President Clinton Distances Self From Words on Raising Taxes

On September 20, that day after President Obama explained that he wanted to pay for his $447 billion jobs bill with tax increases on corporations and higher wage-earners, former President Bill Clinton told the conservative website Newsmax, “I personally don’t believe we ought to be raising taxes or cutting spending until we get this economy off the ground… what I’d like to see them do is come up with a bipartisan approach, starting with the payroll tax cuts because the economics show they have the biggest return.”

Former President Clinton heralded the Obama jobs proposal, citing an analysis that it would grow the Gross Domestic Product and help create between one and two million new jobs.

The former president said people were “confused” because they thought President Obama was proposing everything at once. So he also said, “What I would like to say to the president and Speaker Boehner is, O.K., you both have your deal (on reducing the deficit). Go work it out. Meanwhile focus on putting American back to work ’cause it just confused Americans. Americans lost the fact that whatever you feel about this millionaire surcharge — I don’t really care because I would pay it, but it would affect because I pay the minimum income because I live in New York… But, you know, it’s okay with me, I’ll pay more, but it won’t solve the problem.” The surtax reference is to President Obama’s proposed “Buffett Rule” to make sure the wealthy pay at least the same general tax rate as middle class taxpayers. The conservative group American Crossroads used parts of Clinton’s quotes in a TV ad that ran in Missouri that was critical of President Obama’s stimulus bill.

President Clinton today issued the following statement: “The Republican Group American Crossroads has used a quote from me in a video opposing President Obama’s jobs plan and the ‘Buffett Rule.’ 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. 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. Right now, the most important thing is to put America back to work. That’s why I support the American Jobs Act.”

-Jake Tapper

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