PM Note: Mitt’s Tax Dump, How to Get To 14.1 Percent, The Zeitgeist from Amy Walter

Sep 21, 2012 6:31pm

Ann Romney’s Plane Has Emergency Landing – All are okay, but an apparent electrical fire diverted the flight to Denver – http://abcn.ws/PQVBIy

Late-Night Senate Votes Will Keep Govt. Funded, But There’s A New Record in the Annals of Doing Nothing – http://abcn.ws/SJGC3a

Mitt’s Taxes Released – 14.1 percent rate – $1.9 mill in taxes on $13.7 income  and more than $600,000 in unclaimed deductions -
Read ‘em – http://abcn.ws/RKz1kR
Read about ‘em – http://abcn.ws/PQVBIz

But we’ll get to that in a moment.

The Zeitgeist from Amy Walter: This has been a terrible couple of weeks for Team Romney. The campaign has been battered by self-inflicted wounds and there’s a growing sense by many in the chattering class that the campaign is rudderless and off-message. Meanwhile, both the National Journal poll and the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll have picked up signs that voters are feeling a bit better about the direction of the country. This boost in optimism is likely contributing to the bump Obama has gotten in those two polls.

Obama is by no means a slam dunk. And, there are those all-important debates coming up, the first one on October 3rd. Even so, the question on the minds of so many of us is this: can Romney get on offense? If he’s still trailing in the polls going into the debates, will a strong performance be enough to pull him into the lead?

Romney’s Tax Dilemma – In July Mitt Romney told ABC’s David Muir that nobody who paid more taxes than they owed was fit to be president.

“I don’t pay more than are legally due and, frankly, if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president. I’d think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.”

But then in August he said he’d never, over ten years, paid less than a 13 percent tax rate.

And so his dilemma on his 2011 taxes went something like this:

Pay less than 13 percent and be unqualified. Or pay less than the 13 percent he had said he’d paid for the past ten years.

It was an easy choice.

But the blog posting by Mitt’s counsel drew attention to the fact that Romney decided not to deduct charitable donations he was entitled to deduct.

“The Romneys’ generous charitable donations in 2011 would have significantly reduced their tax obligation for the year. The Romneys thus limited their deduction of charitable contributions to conform to the Governor’s statement in August, based upon the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13% in income taxes in each of the last 10 years.” http://abcn.ws/SJ51WB

Paul Ryan Says the Romneys are Just Generoushttp://abcn.ws/P72YvR

Paul Ryan Walked Into the Lion’s Den and was Booed by AARP Over Obamacare - http://abcn.ws/R5gQJD (Shushannah Walshe)

President Obama Falsely Claims Fast and Furious Program “Begun Under the Previous Administration”-Asked about the Fast and Furious program at the Univision forum on Thursday, President Obama falsely claimed that the program began under President George W. Bush.http://abcn.ws/SbSL4M (Jake Tapper)

Washington’s Feel-Good Story: Playoff Baseball in the Nation’s Capital-You may not know that from the paralysis in Congress or the deadlocked, often petty race for president that’s grinding along.http://abcn.ws/PPQIiF (Rick Klein)

Senators Express Dissatisfaction in Clinton’s “Disrespectful” Benghazi Briefing Short on Answers - http://abcn.ws/PQVBIz

‘Vigorous’ Mitt Romney Fit to Be President, Doc Says – Health records released today suggest Mitt Romney is in good health and has no impairments that would make him unfit for the White House. Plus, he has a resting heart rate of 40  beats per minute. That is literally off the charts. http://abcn.ws/Q31dmo (Emily Friedman)

The Real Story Behind Mitt Romney’s Tan at Univision Forum - http://abcn.ws/Unk35W

Senators Call Libya Briefing Disdainful - John McCain, who once did vodka shots with Hillary Clinton on a round-the-world trip,  called her Libya briefing yesterday contemptible – http://abcn.ws/PQVBIy

Maxine Waters Did Not Violate House Rules, Ethics Investigation Finds- The House Ethics committee announced today that Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., did not violate House rules after a three-year investigation examining her office’s assistance to a bank tied to her husband during the depths of the financial crisis. But a special investigator says her chief of staff, who is also her grandson, may have acted improperly in violation of House rules.http://abcn.ws/R5OUFz (Aaron Katersky)

McCain Takes Issue with President Obama Partly Blaming Him for Immigration Reform Failure-Republican Senators involved in previous immigration reform efforts assailed President Obama Friday for blaming them for not succeeding in fulfilling his May 2008 promise to “have in the first year an immigration bill that I strongly support and that I’m promoting.” http://abcn.ws/PvkOdb (Jake Tapper)

In Virginia, Obama Says Romney’s Washington an ‘Inside Job’ - President Barack Obama used a campaign rally in the northern reaches of this state to fight back attacks that his recent statement that Washington had failed to change “from the inside” was an admission of defeat.
http://abcn.ws/Pvj4Rd (Matthew Larotonda)

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Joe Biden – Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden stopped by the Spring Ledge Farm Stand in New London, N.H., Friday, and Jill Biden picked out a 36.75-pound pumpkin to take back to Washington, D.C. http://abcn.ws/UyW7PY  (Arlette Saenz)

White House Denies Inspector General’s Suggestion Advance Team Volunteer Was Possibly Involved in Colombia Scandal – The White House today rejected an inspector general’s suggestion that a White House Advance Staff volunteer may have been involved in the U.S. Secret Service scandal involving Colombian prostitutes. http://abcn.ws/ON5iXu (Jake Tapper)

Obama Blasts Romney’s Medicare Plan to AARP – Appealing to senior voters, President Obama today defended his Medicare and social security policies, and argued his opponents would slash the popular entitlement programs to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.http://abcn.ws/OJFpNN (Mary Bruce)

Democrats Would Like Being Able to ‘Fire’ House Republicans – Considering the high unemployment rate, Democrats have chosen a curious message with which to assail GOP House incumbents: You’re fired. http://abcn.ws/RFI100 (Chris Good)

Sarah Silverman Takes Voter ID Laws To Task-One musty couch, one snappy comedian and plenty of foul-mouthed sarcasm later, the latest push for voter education hit the Internet this week, encouraging citizens in states with new strict voter ID laws to get the photo ID they will need to in order to cast a ballot in November. http://abcn.ws/RFsTQq (Amy Bingham)

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