FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Monday, July 16, 2012

WATCH: Sen. Kyl Says Obama Is "Fibbing" Re: Bain, Says GDP Was Better When Obama Extended Tax Cuts

Retiring Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) was on NBC's Meet the Press opposite Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) yesterday.  They addressed the dispute about presumptive GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital, and then debated whether or not to extend tax cuts to upper income earners.

Key quotes from Kyl, with the full transcript below the jump:

 "If you look at the fact checkers, I look at The Washington Post. They say Obama is blowing smoke. They give him three Pinocchios. In other words, he-- he is fibbing. He’s misrepresenting the facts about Bain Capital. I think the important point that people are missing here is the final point that Ed Gillespie made. And that is that the reason that businesses find that they have to find employees in other states or even sometimes in other countries to do their work is that this administration is making it so hard to do business in the United States, and be competitive that they’ve got to do that."
Kyl went on to let Gregory get him off track by trying to analogize with the Olympics.  Gregory ran with Kyl's Olympics comment and turned it into a question about the USOC's uniforms being made in China.  Clever, and it took Kyl off message.

Regarding taxes, Kyl made a comment that I believe is questionable:

Well I’m-- I’m believing that Republicans, first of all, are gain-- will gain control of the Senate. That means that both the House and the Senate will reject these kinds of job-killing tax increases that the president’s proposing. I think that will make it more difficult for the President to propose what he is doing now, and go back to where he was a year and a half ago when he said it would be a blow to the economy to increase taxes on anyone. He was right then, and then we had a three percent GDP growth. Now we’re under two percent.
Is he saying that the rate of our GDP growth went down because of the extension of the tax cuts? Because of the possibility that they might not get extended?  Either way, it does not make sense to me.




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Transcript:

GREGORY: Back now with Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. And Senator Durbin, let me start with you. I want to pick up on this fight in the campaign this week over Bain. This is the spokeswoman for the Obama campaign, Stephanie Cutter, bringing the charge against Mitt Romney over these signatures on these SEC documents, after he said he left Bain. Listen to this.
MS. STEPHANIE CUTTER (Obama Campaign Conference Call; Thursday): Either Mitt Romney, through his own words, and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his-- his investments. And if that’s the case, if he was lying to the American people, then that’s a real character and trust issue that the American people need to take very seriously.
GREGORY: Senator, politics is a rough sport. Was that over the top? Was that inappropriate?
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL/Assistant Democratic Leader): I can tell you the documents that were filed with the SEC, with the signature of Mitt Romney, are completely confusing. They claim that for three years he was the sole shareholder, sole director, CEO and president of Bain Capital, and he said he was gone from the scene. But we need to get down to the bottom line here, David. Why is Mitt Romney running away from his company, Bain Capital, like a scalded cat? Because there is abundant evidence that under Bain Capital, they were exporting American jobs to low-wage countries, and he doesn’t want to be associated with it. There's a way for him to clear…
GREGORY: But to suggest that he was-- to suggest that he committed a felony is not over the top, even by campaign standards?
SEN. DURBIN: I can tell you, the standards for false filings for the SEC are a matter of fact. But here is the bottom line. Mitt Romney can clear the air this afternoon on this whole issue by making a more complete disclosure of economic information. Right now, he has failed to disclose information which every candidate of both political parties running for president has made over the last thirty-six years. And I might say to my colleague, Senator Kyl, if we have one year’s income tax, even two year’s income tax from Mitt Romney that fails to meet the minimum requirement that Republican Senators insisted for every Obama nominee for the cabinet that they had to produce, so it’s a double standard.
GREGORY: All right, we’ll get to taxes in a minute. But Senator Kyl, weigh in on this Bain issue. You heard Ed Gillespie here saying that he was effectively-- though, he was on a leave of absence to run the Olympics, what do you think of your-- your colleague’s thoughts on this?
SEN. JON KYL (R-AZ/Assistant Republican Leader): Well, I think Ed Gillespie is right. If you look at the fact checkers, I look at The Washington Post. They say Obama is blowing smoke. They give him three Pinocchios. In other words, he-- he is fibbing. He’s misrepresenting the facts about Bain Capital. I think the important point that people are missing here is the final point that Ed Gillespie made. And that is that the reason that businesses find that they have to find employees in other states or even sometimes in other countries to do their work is that this administration is making it so hard to do business in the United States, and be competitive that they’ve got to do that.
GREGORY: But let-- but-- but let’s be real about this. Companies began to outsource well before Barack Obama became President of the United States.
SEN. KYL: That’s… that’s very true.
GREGORY: Do you consider it a legitimate business practice that should not be politicized?
SEN. KYL: When-- let’s-- let’s look at the symptom versus the cause. The symptom of the problem is outsourcing. The cause is when the government taxes businesses too much, when it regulates businesses too much, and when it creates too much uncertainty as with things like Obamacare. The outsourcing is accelerated because of those things. And speaking of the Olympics, it’s a-- a little bit like the president saying all right, I want to get out there and compete you runners and beat all the other countries, but in the meantime, wear this big anchor around your neck, which is the taxes and the regulation, as-- as Gillespie pointed out. We have the highest tax rate of all of the industrialized countries. That makes us very uncompetitive.
GREGORY: Are you speaking about the Olympics? Are you concerned about our athletes wearing uniforms that were made in China?
SEN. KYL: Again, I go back to-- let’s don’t politicize the Olympics. Let’s look at why an American business felt it had to buy those products because they were cheaper than the ones he could make here. It’s because of government policies here that make it more expensive to do business in the United States.
GREGORY: So you’re okay with-- with Ralph Lauren doing with the…
SEN. KYL: I’m-- I’m not going to politicize it. I want to talk about the issue. The underlying issue is why do we make it so hard for American businesses to compete that they have to buy things from abroad?
GREGORY: Senator, go ahead.
SEN. DURBIN: David, let me tell you, what-- the bottom line is this. The outsourcing of jobs by Bain Capital to low-wage countries is an embarrassment to Mitt Romney and he’s trying to distance himself from his own company that made millions of dollars for him. I would say to Senator Kyl, I hope that this week the Senate Republicans will join the Democrats in supporting the measure that Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio will offer that eliminates the incentive, the tax incentive, that we have to outsource jobs and rewards American companies for bringing jobs back to America. It would be great to see the Republicans join us in a bipartisan effort to create a tax incentive to bring jobs home. Instead, they’re making excuses. Now, I have to say that Mister Gillespie and my friend, Jon Kyl, have failed to answer your question. Outsourcing, unfortunately, costs good American jobs. We need a president focusing on creating jobs in America, not a former governor whose company specialized in exporting jobs overseas.
SEN. KYL: And I-- I-- I do agree we need a president that’s focused on creating jobs in America. And you don’t do that by increasing taxes on the very people…
GREGORY: All right. Well let’s talk…
SEN. KYL: …to create jobs.
GREGORY: I want-- I want to talk about taxes because what-- what the Senate Democrats would like to do, what the president would like to do is extend the Bush tax cuts for those making less than $200,000, or $250,000, as a family and then taxes would go up on people above that. Back in 2010, when this issue first came up, this is what President Obama said back then. Watch.
(Videotape)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (January 29, 2010): I am just listening to the consensus among people who know the economy best. And what they will say is that if you either increase taxes or significantly lowered spending when the economy remains somewhat fragile, that that would have a de-stimulative effect and potentially you’d see a lot of folks losing business, more folks potentially losing jobs. That would be a mistake when the economy has not fully taken off.
(End videotape)
GREGORY: Well, that was 2010, Senator Durbin. If it was a bad idea to raise taxes when-- in a down economy then, why is it a good idea to raise taxes in a down economy now?
SEN. DURBIN: I think the president has drawn the line in the proper way. He believes, and I agree, that the top two percent of wage earners in America should pay their fair share. That’s what this comes down to. And if we extend the Bush tax cuts, as Senator Kyl and others have called for, it will add $800 billion to our deficit…
GREGORY: But Senator, he wasn’t willing to do that two years ago.
SEN. DURBIN: …which means it we’ll be forced to…
GREGORY: He wasn’t willing to do that two years ago because he was concerned about the economy.
SEN. DURBIN: He was concerned and still is. We have seen 28 straight months of job creation in the private sector. We want to continue it, and build on it. And we believe that asking the top two percent of wage earners in America to pay their fair share of taxes is not going to kill the economy. Instead, it’s going to make sure we move toward reduction of our deficit. The Republicans have failed to explain even one of them how we can continue to give tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country, and realistically, honestly reduce the deficit. We can’t.
GREGORY: Senator Kyl?
SEN. KYL: We’re not talking about giving tax cuts to anyone. All we’re asking is don’t raise taxes on all Americans. And especially don’t raise taxes on the people who create the business. When you say that the high-income earners, the top 20 percent pay 90 percent of the taxes, what should they pay? 99 percent? These are the people who have enough money to invest in businesses and to create jobs. And the problem with the tax cut-- or tax increase that the president is proposing is that it falls directly on those job creators. 53 percent of the income raised would come from those businesses. And they employ 25 percent of all of the people that are working in the United States.
GREGORY: Do you think that the campaign will settle this tax issue one way or the other?
SEN. KYL: I’m-- I suspect-- I-- I-- I hope it will and I hope…
GREGORY: So, by that, I mean if President Obama is re-elected, do you think that Republicans will accept a reality where they say, you know what, if we’re going to deal with the debt, we’re going to have to have a balanced approach, some taxes are going to have to go up if spending is going to come down, if entitlements are going to be reformed?
SEN. KYL: Well I’m-- I’m believing that Republicans, first of all, are gain-- will gain control of the Senate. That means that both the House and the Senate will reject these kinds of job-killing tax increases that the president’s proposing. I think that will make it more difficult for the President to propose what he is doing now, and go back to where he was a year and a half ago when he said it would be a blow to the economy to increase taxes on anyone. He was right then, and then we had a three percent GDP growth. Now we’re under two percent.
GREGORY: Senator Durbin, before you go this morning, I want to ask you about your colleague in the House, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., a lot of mystery about what his condition is. What is going on with him and will he return?
SEN. DURBIN: I don’t have any inside information here. I called Reverend Jackson, his father, this week, and said that our prayers are with his son’s family. We want him to get well and get home soon. I think my colleague, Senator Kirk, has set the right standard by talking about his rehabilitation and the progress he’s making. I hope very, very soon that Congressman Jackson can tell us what he’s facing. I think the people of Illinois and this country are going to embrace anything he’s doing to put himself back in a good, strong position to return to his family and to Congress.
GREGORY: Do you-- do you-- but do you suspect that his political career is over or not?
SEN. DURBIN: Oh, no, I wouldn’t say that at all. I don’t know what his specific challenge is. But let me tell you, members of Congress in both parties, men and women, go through a lot of trials, physical and mental trials…
GREGORY: Mm-Hm.
SEN. DURBIN: …and they emerge from them stronger. American people and the peoples of Illinois will stand behind a congressman who is facing his challenges head-on and they’ll support him.
GREGORY: Senator Durbin, Senator Kyle, thank you both very much.
SEN. KYLE: Thank you.

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