It took 24 hours, but Mitt Romney thinks he’s found his way out of the massive hole he’s dug himself. The GOP nominee appeared frazzled at a hastily scheduled, late-night press conference on Monday as he attempted to defend comments he’d made at a fundraiser disparaging 47 percent of Americans. So on Tuesday, Romney appeared on Fox News to try something new: A tape of his own. Romney told Neil Cavuto that the real scandalous recording released this week was a 1998 audio clip of then-Illinois state Senator Barack Obama explicitly endorsing the idea of using government to redistribute wealth. Here’s what Obama said:
And my suggestion, I guess, would be that the trick—and this is one of the few areas where I think there are technical issues that have to be dealt with as opposed to just political issues—I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution. Because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure everybody’s got a shot.
Here’s why Romney’ argument is a dud: Everyone already knows this about President Obama. Conservatives have been saying the President is a redistributor since this time in 2008, when then-Sen. Obama told an Ohio plumber that his taxes policies would “spread the wealth.” And he meant it. Obama has spent much of the last two years—and the presidential campaign—explaining why he believes affluent citizens should pay higher income taxes in order to help fund programs that often disproportionately benefit lower-income and middle-class cititizens. It’s as if the Romney campaign had floated a 1998 video of Obama calling for an individual mandate for health insurance.
What makes the story even less compelling is that Republicans believe in redistributing wealth too. For instance, here’s how the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities described Paul Ryan’s 2011 budget:
[I]ts proposals would produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history, while increasing poverty and inequality more than any measure in recent times and possibly in the nation’s history.
Redistributing wealth is also the driving force behind Medicare, in which senior citizens, many of whom have stopped paying income taxes and have limited sources of income, benefit from a massive entitlement program funded by everyone else. Non-partisan budget analysis notwithstanding, Romney and Ryan have billed themselves as the defenders of Medicare when speaking to audiences of senior citizens.
The socialism is coming from inside the campaign!
The Obama audio is here: