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October 8th, 2012
10:14 AM ET

Rep. Black addresses claims of 'cooked' unemployment numbers, says details of Romney deduction change plan would be determined in negotiations

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."

Filed under: 2012 election • Budget • Politics • Tax cuts
July 10th, 2012
10:18 AM ET

Rep. Paulsen: US needs a simpler tax code

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) says House of Representatives plans to work on tax reforms this month to help the economy.

Filed under: Tax cuts
July 10th, 2012
05:54 AM ET

Battle lines drawn on Bush-era tax cuts – Paul Steinhauser on the politics of taxes

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama revitalized his push for holding down middle-class tax rates Monday, calling on Congress to pass a one-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for people earning less than $250,000 a year.

In a White House statement delivered while people described as working Americans stood behind him, Obama said his proposal would provide the certainty of no tax increase next year for 98% of Americans.

Noting that Republicans seek to maintain all of the Bush tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003, Obama said both sides therefore agree on extending the lower rates for middle-class families.

A Romney campaign official criticized Obama's announcement as more bad policy from the president in the wake of the latest disappointing jobs report.

This morning on "Early Start," Paul Steinhauser looks at the increasing political rhetoric around extending the Bush-era tax cuts, and how the tax cut discussion could be part of an Obama campaign tactic to emphasize Mitt Romney's wealth.


Filed under: Politics • Tax cuts