President Barack Obama has talked about the mess he inherited.
Now he’s talking about that mess in the context of the candidate who wants to replace him as president:
“You watched and worried — two wars, tax cuts for millionaires, debt piled up,” Obama’s latest campaign ad says, alluding to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that former President George W. Bush waged off-budget with flashes of that “shock and awe” over Baghdad, the Bush-era tax cuts and the impact of all that on a deepening federal deficit Obama found at inauguration.
Now comes Mitt Romney, Obama’s campaign warns: “Now we face a choice.”
More tax cuts for millionaires, the campaign’s ad says of Romney’s plans, increased military spending, “adding trillions to the deficit.”
It offers Obama’s plan: “A balanced plan,” with $4 trillion in deficit reduction and millionaires paying their “fair share.”
All this overlooks the fact that Romney wants to offset his tax cuts — continuing Bush-era tax relief for all while cutting all tax brackets by by another 25 percent — with the elimination of unspecified tax exemptions as a balancer.
And it overlooks the fact that the spending-cuts and tax-boosting that Obama has proposed (eliminating the Bush tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000) shaves the deficit over a decade but does not eliminate it — and requires a Republican-run House to go along with the taxes in it.
The implicit message of the theme the Obama campaign promotes in this ad — “Forward” — is that siding with Romney is going backward – to Bush. Yet, given the makeup of Congress, and the likelihood of Republicans holding on in November, it’s questionable how far forward the president can take his own plans with re-election.