Ed Koch: Obama Camp Went Too Far With Reid Attack and Cancer Ad

Thursday, 09 Aug 2012 06:00 PM

By Henry J. Reske and John Bachman

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Negative campaign charges are fine if they are accurate, but recent Obama camp attacks on Mitt Romney cross the line, former New York Mayor Ed Koch told Newsmax.TV.

Both an ad purporting to show that Romney’s private equity company Bain Capital was somehow responsible for a woman’s cancer death and Sen. Harry Reid’s claim that Romney paid no taxes for 10 years go too far, said Koch, a Democrat and supporter of President Barack Obama.

“Look, there’s nothing wrong with negative ads if they’re true, if they’re accurate,” Koch said. “That’s why people use them because they catch on."

Watch our exclusive interview. Story continues below.

Referring to the TV spot, in which steelworker Joe Soptic says his wife did not go to the doctor until it was too late as he had lost his health insurance when Bain closed the plant where he worked, Koch added, “That ad doesn’t appear to be accurate.”

He also said Senate Majority Leader Reid doesn’t appear to have the information that he says he has concerning Romney’s tax returns.

“Nobody in the country believes that Romney took advantage of tax laws illegally,” Koch continued. “The laws are there.

“We all know that rich people are able to reduce their taxes. That’s not the fault of the rich people; that’s the fault of the Congress for allowing the measure of a tax code that allows someone not to pay. But there’s no requirement that someone pay taxes that they are not required to pay because there are loopholes that allow them to not pay.”

Regardless, Koch said that the GOP’s presidential challenger should make more than just the most recent two years’ tax returns available. “Gov. Romney ought to make available what the average has been for candidates.” Even if the returns show Romney used the tax laws to his advantage, Koch does not believe it will hurt his chances in November.

“I don’t believe that’s the way Americans look at it,” he said. “If the law allows you to take a loophole, there’s no reason for you not to take it.”

On other topics, Koch said:
  • He favors a constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions and campaign spending.
  • When it comes to Israel, “the position of the Republican Party and the two candidates is roughly the same, and I’m satisfied on that. So the issue of Israel, for me, is no longer an issue because it’s been accommodated by both presidential candidates.”
  • He is convinced President Obama would use force if necessary to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb. “President Obama is honorable man, and he has said that he is not satisfied with containment, which means let them get the bomb and then make sure that they won’t use it. His position is, ‘We will not let them get the bomb.’”
  • Both candidates have avoided speaking about gun control for the same reason. "They’re both frightened by the National Rifle Association and they shouldn’t be.”
  • He’s eager to help Obama’s re-election effort by visiting swing states, but is constrained by age. “I’ll be 88 next December. If I am able to do it, I want to do it. On the other hand, if I physically can’t do it, there are other things I can do like robocalls and other things on the ground like billboards.”

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