08.20.2012 1

Obama’s ugly campaign

Mitt Romney's tax rateBy Rick Manning — The airwaves are overrun with Obama ads saying all sorts of bad things about Mitt Romney and making some incredible claims about the current president’s budget plans for the future.  Two of these claims just scream for correction, one because it has disastrous consequences for those who might run for the office in the future, and the other because it is not just wrong, but laughably so.

Anyone who has been out of a coma for the past week or two knows Obama has an advertisement out harping about Mitt Romney “only” paying 14 percent of his income in 2011 in taxes.

Beyond the fact that Obama’s calculator does not include the Alternative Minimum Tax that Romney paid, which jumps the percentage to more than 15 percent, the attack actually creates an interesting dilemma for future candidates.

While Romney paid $3,226,000 in federal taxes in 2011, he also gave $4,020,572 to charities.  The Obama attack on Romney makes one wonder if Mitt would have been better off stiffing the charities and paying an extra $1.4 million in taxes bringing his total tax percentage to 22 percent of his income.  Certainly makes for a less compelling campaign ad, and Romney would have had an extra $2.6 million in his pocket.

In the 30-second world of political campaign ads, the public doesn’t find out that Romney gave more than 20 percent of his income away.

The public also doesn’t learn that Romney took zero salary when he saved the Salt Lake City Olympics from disintegration, and then did the same thing when he was Governor of Massachusetts.

Of course Obama knows this, but his job is to put Romney in the most unfavorable light possible.  By dismissing the Alternative Minimum Tax that Romney paid, Obama callously skews the percentage of taxes paid, and his ad as a whole chooses to teach the obvious negative lesson that generosity is a punishable offense in politics.  One wonders if Obama actually believes that in America it is better to be Joe Biden, who gave a meager 1.5 percent to charity in 2011 rather than Romney who gave more than 20 percent?

Obama’s forward ad distinguishes itself in a different way.  It tells a flat out lie that Obama has a plan to pay down the debt.

He doesn’t.

Obama’s last submitted budget never projects a balance.  If Obama is proposing a never-ending deficit, how is he going to pay down the debt?  Is he planning on using Mitt Romney’s American Express Gold Card?

If a drug company, like Glaxo Smith Kline, aired a television advertisement for one of its many products with as many outright distortions as Obama is allowed to air trying to keep his job, they would be hauled into federal court by the FDA and fined billions of dollars.  However, these claims that would make Pinocchio blush with embarrassment, are the standard fare for an Obama campaign that has to defend a record that makes Jimmy Carter look competent.

If this is how a desperate Obama looks in August, I can only imagine the levels they will be allowed to stoop once October rolls around.  It is going to get real ugly.

Rick Manning is a reformed political consultant who serves as the communications director of Americans for Limited Government. 

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