Obama traveled to Florida Tuesday to make a speech touting the "Buffett Rule," named for billionaire Warren Buffett who famously pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, which requires that the richest Americans be taxed at a minimum of 30 percent. His speech came in the week before the Senate is expected to vote on the millionaire's tax, and also as former Gov. Mitt Romney, who paid only a 14 percent tax rate according to records released in January, appears to have cleared the path to the Republican presidential nomination. In an election that the economy will play an important, if not the most important role, Obama is framing his platform with a call for economic "fairness," insisting that the deficit crisis cannot be addressed without increased revenue such as his millionaire's tax. Republicans, many of them getting behind House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's recent budget plan, argue that raising taxes will stifle the economy by discouraging private investment, and instead taxes should be lowered and regulations eliminated to spur growth. The deficit must be reduced purely by cutting government spending, some Republicans assert (many have even signed a pledge to not raise taxes).
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll in which Obama leads over Romney shows voters trust Romney over Obama to handle the economy, and 46 percent see the president's handling of the economy as a major reason to oppose his re-election. On the plus side of Obama, Americans think he would do a better job protecting the middle class, by a margin of 49-39, and 52 percent of poll respondents rated "unfairness" as a bigger issue facing the country over "overregulation," which 37 percent thought was bigger.
The Romney campaign opposes the Buffett Rule and released a statement arguing,
President Obama is the first president in history to openly campaign for re-election on a platform of higher taxes. He has already raised taxes on millions of Americans, but he won't stop there. He wants to raise taxes on millions more by taxing small businesses and job creators. We appreciate the Obama campaign reinforcing Mitt Romney's platform of lowering tax rates across the board in order to jumpstart this bad Obama economy.
The poll also found Romney beating Obama among those particularly hurting in the current economy, including those who say it is hard to find a job in their area, those who do not believe the recession to be over, and those struggling to stay in the middle class. Obama is now betting that the the Buffett Rule will rally those voters to his side.
What do you think? Will Obama's support of the Buffett Rule help or hurt his re-election chances? Take the poll and comment below.
Previously: Is Barack Obama a 'Fear and Division' President?