Obama: Asking About My Tax Pledge Is a 'Washington Game'

Tuesday, 27 Apr 2010 12:12 PM

By Grover Norquist

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From the ATR website.

Washington, D.C.— Consider yourself warned: Americans should not ask President Obama about his “firm pledge” not to raise any form of taxes on families making less than $250,000. Anyone asking such a question is just playing a “Washington game”.

So says President Obama, anyway. In his remarks introducing the debt commission today, Obama said the following:

It’s important that we not restrict the review or the recommendations that this commission comes up with in any way. Everything has to be on the table. And I just met briefly with the commission and said the same thing to them.

Of course this means that all of you, our friends in the media, will ask me and others once a week, or once a day, about what we are willing to rule out or rule in when it comes to the recommendations of the commission. That’s an old Washington game . . . so I wanted to deliver this message today: we’re not playing that game. I’m not gonna say what’s in, I’m not gonna say what’s out.

Obama’s “everything has to be on the table” mantra directly contradicts his central campaign promise that no family making less than $250,000 will see any form of tax increase.

Obama’s refusal today to rule out tax hikes on families making less than $250,000 per year may explain his recent attempts to alter the terms of his central campaign promise.

Twice this month, Obama has claimed his middle class tax pledge only applied to “income taxes” rather than “any form of taxes”.

In his April 10 Weekly Radio Address, Obama said:

“And one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000. That’s another promise we’ve kept.”

In a speech on the evening of April 15, Obama repeated the truncated promise:

“And one thing we haven’t done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year — another promise that we kept.”

The two recent statements stand in stark contrast to Obama’s original promise:

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” (Dover, NH)

Last year, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the pledge “didn’t come with caveats.”


Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) is a non-partisan coalition of taxpayers and taxpayer groups who oppose all federal, state and local tax increases.

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