The clock is ticking with just 29 days remaining before Election Day. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney are in the thick of campaigning following their first presidential debate last week. Vice President Joe Biden and Romney’s running mate Rep. Paul Ryan will duke it out in their own debate later this week.
Romney supporter and Tennessee Republican Congresswoman Diane Black joins John Berman on “Early Start” this morning. Black also works with Rep. Ryan in the House Budget Committee and the Ways and Means Committee. She explains how the latest unemployment report could shape the presidential race.
Berman asks her to respond to one claim from businessman Jack Welch, who alluded to the Labor Dept. numbers being altered to be more politically advantageous for President Obama.
"There's 23 million Americans who are unemployed," Rep. Black says. "They're either looking for a job, they are giving up or underemployed. And so, if we just look at the numbers and take that for what it's worth, and I don't know that we have to say much more about whether the numbers have been cooked or not."
"We're looking at 43 straight months of unemployment above 8%," Rep. Black adds. "The president himself in his own remarks during his own campaign said if he did not have this under control by this point in time, he didn't deserve to have another chance at another four-year term."
Berman also asks Rep. Black what tax deductions she would like to see reduced to pay for Gov. Romney's proposed tax cuts.
"I think that we can talk about the reductions or - we can talk about those deductions or credits that we already give, and the three that are the most popular that I think you will see, both Democrats and Republicans agreeing that they should be kept and that's the child tax credit, the credit for health care expenses and also for charitable gifts. And then add a fourth one to that as the mortgage," Rep. Black says. "There may be some changes in that and, of course, that's all negotiation that you do when you get down to the brass tacks between everybody sitting around the table. You don't want to talk about all of that in detail at this point in time because that's what negotiations are about."
Berman challenges Black on her assertion, arguing that Americans can't get a sense of how the budget will be balanced if details aren't provided for how tax cuts would be paid for.
"Let's go to what really needs to be talked about and that is, where the true debt comes from. The true debt comes from those areas that we have talked about in our Budget Committee, that we have passed twice now in the House and the Senate has done nothing. The president brought his budget to us and I think it's very interesting that no one in his own party voted for his budget," Rep. Black says. "You've got to go to where the debt is to be able to really talk about taking care of the debt issue."