Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Big GOP Debate Thread: Newt And Mitt

The two big stories from last night's Florida debate were Mitt on the attack, and Santorum and Ron Paul clearly being treated as also-rans.  The contest is now down to Gingrich vs. Romney.

Mitt Romney came ready to take on Newt Gingrich in Monday night’s debate. And for one moment at least he really seemed to throw over the Florida frontrunner in a conversation about lobbying.

Gingrich’s GOP opponents have attacked him for months now over the work he took on after leaving the House, accusing him of being a lobbyist. Gingrich has responded by saying he was just an extremely well-paid former politician companies hired to help them do business with active politicians.

Gingrich has tried to dance that dance for a while now, but during the debate Monday, he finally seemed to trip up.

Romney went after Gingrich hard on the topic, first dismissing Gingrich’s claim that he was a historian for Freddie Mac.

“They don’t pay people $25,000 a month for six years as historians,” Romney said, referring to the fees Gingrich’s consulting firm was paid by the mortgage giant. “They weren’t hiring you as a historian.”

Which is funny if you think about it.  Here's Mitt Romney, worth a quarter of a billion dollars, going after Newt for being on Freddie Mac's payroll, and Newt dropping back into indignation as a defense.

Meanwhile, we learned early this morning that Romney's tax rate last year wasn't 15%.  It was less than that.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released tax records on Tuesday indicating he will pay $6.2 million in taxes on a total of $42.5 million in income over the years 2010 and 2011.

Bowing to increasing political pressure to provide more detail about his vast wealth, the former private equity executive released tax returns indicating he and his wife, Ann, paid an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent in 2010. They expect to pay a 15.4 percent rate when they file their returns for 2011.

Romney's tax rate is below that of most wage-earning Americans because most of his income, as outlined in more than 500 pages of tax documents, flows from capital gains on investments.

Some 500 pages of  awesome capital gains, taxed at at lower rate than Americans who make 40 grand a year.  That's going to help him with the average American, right?

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