Obama slams Romney on tax, wealth, '47%'

2012-10-17 09:00

Washington - In what amounted to a do-over on the subject of wealth and fairness, President Barack Obama took aim on Tuesday night at Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's personal finances, his tax plan and his once-private comment about the "47%" of Americans who don't pay income taxes.

Obama's aggressive approach on those issues contrasted sharply with his restraint in their first matchup in Denver on 3 October, when he avoided entirely the now-famous 47% comment, taped at a fundraiser in May.

Obama zeroed in on Romney's 14% tax rate, the roughly $20m he earned in a recent year and his investments in China. He cheekily joked during their second debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, that Romney's pension was likely fatter than his.

"When he said behind closed doors that 47% of the country considered themselves victims, who refuse personal responsibility, think about who he was talking about," Obama said on Tuesday, noting many in that group who are the elderly, veterans and students.

And once again, he went after Romney's tax plans which the president said favoured the rich.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and co-founder of investment firm Bain Capital, defended his proposal to slash all Americans' tax rates by 20%.

Tax cuts, funding

Romney's own - albeit indirect - reference to the 47% remarks came as he responded to a question about misperceptions held about him. He said he cared "about 100% of the American people. I want 100% of the American people to have a bright and prosperous future".

Romney also pledged that the top 5% wealthiest Americans would continue to pay 60% of all federal income taxes.

That is roughly the amount of federal income taxes that the richest 5% pay, according to the Tax Policy Centre.

The 47% figure also comes from that research group, although it has been widely noted that many of those individuals are either senior citizens or the working poor using popular tax credits.

Sticking to his previous tax policy statements , Romney pledged to cut taxes for the middle class but keep the wealthy paying the same share of taxes.

One undecided voter, among those selected to question the candidates on Tuesday night, asked Romney how he would fund the cut, reflecting a frequent criticism of his proposal.

A dig at Romney

"I'm going to bring rates down across the board for everybody, but I'm going to limit deductions and exemptions and credits, particularly for people at the high end," Romney said.

During a squabble about whether Romney had investments in Chinese companies, Romney said his investments were managed by a blind trust.

Romney asked Obama if he knew what was in his retirement plan.

"It's not as big as yours," Obama said, in a dig at Romney's wealth.

- To watch a video of the complete second US presidential debate click here.

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  • adriaan.mostert - 2012-10-17 09:14

    Damn right - these religious right wing Americans must pay tax first - then waste their money on tax free tithing at their churches!

      renierf1 - 2012-10-17 09:54

      Wow.... How about showing how little you know about US politics. And then the comment about tithing to churches shows just how little you know about how those funds are used.

      kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-10-17 11:05

      hallo.daar.56 - 2012-10-17 12:55

      Another angry atheist. Get a clue on American politics or shut your hole.

  • CarlaVittoriSpeaks - 2012-10-17 12:41

    Ah... lovely liberal cr@p. Obama is a socialist bordering on communist and has done nothing but screw up time and time again. And all he has in answer to Romney is to throw around a few backhanded insults based on Romney's wealth. Is Obama feeling upset because Romney can create wealth and he cant? Is he upset because Romney doesn't want to share? I'm sorry, but I would rather have a businessman in charge who knows what he's doing and understands economics rather than a socialist wannabe (who is probably studying the ANC political and economic model if the US economy is anything to go by) who is still suffering from the "I'm-black-and-have-been-oppressed-for-hundreds-of-years-by-whites-so-you-have-to-give-me-what-I-want-while-I-run-the-country-into-the-ground" syndrome

      hallo.daar.56 - 2012-10-17 13:24

      Another idiot who doesn't understand politics and political systems like communism.

      CarlaVittoriSpeaks - 2012-10-17 14:02

      @hallo.daar - communism is a cancer that would plunge the world and everyone in it into an abyss of poverty, disease, corruption and war. Communism, socialism and marxism are all the same thing repackaged a little differently. It is basically a call to go back to feudal times where a very small elite is on top and owns EVERYTHING while the poor serfs at the bottom barely scrape a living together from scraps that fall from the elite's table. Communism is simply another form of slavery because it has NEVER benefited the masses anywhere in the world. If things are bad now, just see how bad they get when SA turns full communist. And the last thing the world needs is the US (ie: the world's strongest and most influential nation) descending into communistic and socialistic "freedom". Please read a few history books on communism and you might figure out why America fought the Cold War against it for over a decade!

      hallo.daar.56 - 2012-10-17 15:29

      Communism another form of slavery? Actually it is meant to put all people of an equal footing. If anything Capitalism has created a new form of slavery. Please read a book on economics 101

      piet.strydom - 2012-10-17 19:57

      @Carla - Give me ONE example of Obama's "communism"?

      LPmtc - 2012-10-17 20:45

      Personally l don't see the link btwn Obama and ANC..and until you get a better grasp on American politics or what communism really is, l suggest you close your face hole or put your fingers to better use other than typing something you clearly have no solid grasp with your own "white-black" shenanigans..we have heard of it's getting old and boring..people must just learn to get along..

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