— -- President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is attacking Mitt Romney for his economic plan in 15 states, including pivotal battlegrounds, charging that it would result in higher taxes on small businesses and middle class families. The Romney camp said Obama was the one seeking a tax hike.
Team Obama released "reports" on what it predicted would be "the disastrous impacts" of Romney's blueprint in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
At the same time, the campaign highlighted "the president's vision for an economy built from the middle out—where hard work pays off, responsibility is rewarded, and everyone gets a fair shot," spokesman Adam Fetcher said in a statement emailed to reporters.
The tax-hike claim comes in large part from a study by the Independent Tax Policy Center that concluded Romney would have to roll back deductions popular with the middle class—on mortgages and dependent children, for instance—in order to pay for his proposed $5 trillion tax cuts, much of which would go to the wealthiest Americans.
The onslaught reflects the Democrat's strategy for countering Romney on the sputtering economy—the president's greatest vulnerability heading into the final stretch of the 2012 campaign. With many Americans still hurting from the aftershocks of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, Obama has cast himself as the champion of the middle class and warned that Romney is out to help the very rich. The president has been campaigning on his call to extend the Bush-era tax cuts on the first $250,000 of income, which chiefly benefits the middle class, while letting them expire above that level. Republicans have warned that this would smother investment and therefore cost jobs.
The Romney campaign hit back, with spokesman Ryan Williams charging that "only one candidate in this race is going to raise taxes—and that's Barack Obama."
"That is the last thing we should do in this economy. Mitt Romney has a plan for a stronger middle class that will lower tax rates across the board, cut the deficit and turn around our struggling economy," Williams said.