Norquist Blasts Back after Chambliss Reneges on Pledge

Friday, 23 Nov 2012 07:12 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald and Greg McDonald

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Conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist blasted back at a Republican senator on Friday for backing off his promise to oppose tax increases.

Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss said he has dumped his pledge to Norquist about the tax increases, telling a Macon television station he “cares more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” referring to the Taxpayer Protection Pledge he signed when he first ran for the Senate.

Norquist, who heads the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform, created the pledge, which nearly every Republican member of congress has signed.

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In a statement to Newsmax, Norquist said, "Sen. Chambliss promised the people of Georgia he would go to Washington and reform government rather than raise taxes to pay for bigger government. He made that commitment in writing to the people of Georgia.

"If he plans to vote for higher taxes to pay for Obama-sized government he should address the people of Georgia and let them know that he plans to break his promise to them."

Chambliss told 13WMAZ, that abiding by Norquist's pledge would do nothing to solve the nation's deficit problem.

He said he's willing to do what's necessary to reduce the federal debt and help get the nation back on a sound economic footing, even if that means finding new sources of revenue.

Norquist said that as recently as last year Chambliss had made it clear, when he joined the so-called Gang of Six looking for ways to reduce the deficit, that he would "not vote for any plan that raised taxes."

"That was a public letter he and co-signers Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo sent to the press to explain their negotiating position as they joined the Gang of Six in early 2011," said Norquist.

Norquist has often used the financial power of his group to help elect Republican members to Congress. He's also used it to help defeat candidates who won't sign his pledge or who renege on their no-tax promise.

Asked in the interview with the CBS-affiliate station if he thought Norquist would come after him in 2014 when he is up for re-election to the Senate, Chambliss said yes.

But he added, "I don't worry about that because I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist."

Norquist responded, saying, "I miss his point in trying to attack me.

"Raising taxes on the people of Georgia to pay for Obama's reckless spending is not the right thing to do for America or Georgia. We have a problem because Washington spends too much, not because Sen. Chambliss has failed so far to raise taxes on the hard-working men and women of Georgia.

Norquist reminded Chambliss what happened to two people who he said reneged on taxation promises: President George H.W. Bush, with his famous "Read My Lips" comment, and Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, who, he said, "withdrew because polling showed he could not win a general election having both lied to his state and raised their taxes."

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"I would urge all senators to oppose Obama's budget that raises taxes on the American people and sets the stage for larger taxes in the future on energy that will hit all Americans and raise the cost of living while reducing the number and quality of jobs in America.

“I hope and trust that Sen. Chambliss will keep his promise to Georgia and not raise taxes on the people of Georgia.”


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