The Daily Rundown | April 10, 2012
>>> washington, it's tuesday, april 10th , 2010 . this is "the daily rundown," i'm chuck todd . let's get to my first reads of the morning. president obama will pick a popular fight today in a florida swing, aimed squarely at mitt romney . urging congress to raise taxes on millionaires. the president will speak at florida atlantic university at boca raton . this is a political trip. the official event is book ended by fund raisers in palm beach to the north and hollywood and golden beach to the south. obama 's focus on the buffett rule begins a week-long firing on all cylinders push on an economic fairness message who the president started pressing for in kansas four months ago.
>> do we want to keep giving tax breaks to the wealthiest americans , folks like myself or warren buffett or bill gates ? people who never need them or ask for them or keep investing in the things that grow our economy and keep us secure. we can't afford to do both.
>> a senate vote next week would require anyone whose adjustable growth exceeds $1 million to have a 30% tax rate . the campaign is using the entire apparatus of the democratic party . shortly after launching his campaign twitter account, vipt biden said i'm for the buffett rule, it makes sense. it's not warfare, it's math. he will push in new hampshire thursday. a campaign event. borrowing from the liberal think tank , they're using a 1985 clip of "the gipper" to make their case.
>> do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver or less?
>> the message may be going on five months old, but there is a difference now. obama 's campaign is personalizing it. trying to tie what they believe is voter anger about economic inequality to romney the person who has paid less than 15% of his income in taxes. here's obama campaign manager jim messina on a conference call yesterday with reporters.
>> well, middle class families who are working to make ends meet, romney is millions of dollars of his personal wealth and investment fund , set up tax havens , like the cayman islands . he also had $3 million marked in a swiss bank account . a swiss bank account . romney is a beneficiary of a broken tax system and he wants to keep it that way.
>> the romney campaign fired back in a release, quote, president obama is the first president in history to openly campaign for re-election on a platform of higher taxes. that's not quite true. truman in '48. but obama 's campaign also called on romney to release the last 23 years of his tax returns . the number of years he provided to the mccain campaign in 2008 when he was being vetted as a running mate. the president has only released returns back to 2000 , and romney 's spokesman told buzz feed, quote, maybe they should adopt as their new slogan barack obama , making the world safe for hypocrisy. but his response begs the question, will romney now release tax returns going back to 2000 to match the president? one intriguing question, is this economic fairness message actually good politics? a poll conducted of swing state independent voters for the centrist group, third way, suggests it's an open question at best. 80% of the swing independents say they would prefer a candidate to focus on increasing opportunity rather than reducing income inequality . 57% said that reducing the budget deficit is a bigger priority than narrowing the income gap . in the survey, a super majority of these swing independents said the system is already basically fair, and by a 3-1 margin, called themselves haves, not have nots. republicans have pointed out that implementing the buffett we'll would raise $47 billion over a decade, according to the squloint committee on taxation, compared with the $7 trillion in federal budget deficits projected during that period. and republicans are trying to seize on the deficit issue this morning. the rnc staying in a kwoemt, this is all the president has left, to divide a america with a tax that will raise 1/10 of a percent of its spending spree. congressman paul ryan was using it to bring up the specter of entitlement spending.
>> i think people think the buffett rule is sort of this budget pixie dust , that if we just do this, we'll fix our fiscal problems. why don't we stop subsidizing the rich? why are we subsidizing warren buffett 's health care benefits as much as we do his secretary's?
>> one thing on the politics of this buffett rule. keep an eye on the slice of voters of the obama campaign thinks they're targeting with this. it's not just independents overall. they're looking at working-class independent voters in places like ohio, michigan, wisconsin, the industrial midwest, where some of these income inequality gaps are bigger, rather than the swing voters in, say, florida, north carolina or virginia.
>>> rick santorum returns to the trail this morning. late last night, the santorum campaign announced that daughter bella had been released from the hospital, sending out this picture. santorum will be back on the stump in pennsylvania, the campaign cancelled the day's first two events to allow the santorum 's to settle at home in northern virginia with bella. but santorum will stump in gettysburg this afternoon and then resume his normal schedule. meanwhile, mitt romney is playing hard ball in the key stone state. his campaign made a $1.9 billion ad buy before the primary and they have a very personal attack ad at the ready that has aired, and then has been pulled. here it is.
>> rick santorum , 17-point loss. historically embarrassing. rick santorum lost his home county by 30 points.
>> he lost across the board with voters, among democrats and independents, women and men, blacks and whites, young and old, rich and poor.
>> we fired him as senator. why promote him to president?
>> now the campaign ad was pulled down while santorum was taking care of his daughter, bella. so how quickly will it go back into circulation? asked yesterday on former rival mike huck abay's debut as a talk show host , whether the run race was over, romney was pretty confident.
>> it's kind of hard for anybody to get the delegates, to pass me at the stage. so it looks pretty good. but i know there are guys still in there, so we're going to keep on campaigning.
>> we'll see if the ad goes back up. we'll be watching.
>>> romney may be everything but the republican nominee at this point. we can call him presumptive, whatever you want to call him at this stage. but a new " washington post " abc news poll confirms the conventional wisdom that has been said already about the 2012 race if you believe in that stuff and it's not good news overall for romney . president's job approval has climbed back up to 50% in this poll. obama leads romney 51-44 among registered voters after a virtual dead heat last month. looking inside the numbers, the president leads on a host of issues, including women's issues, international affairs , health care . worst news for romney , personal qualities. the president has more than a two to one advantage. when the voters were asked who is the friendly and likeable guy, obama leads 64-26. and who is more inspiring. but also can remembering conventional wisdom , the president's greatest vulnerability, the economy. obama only leads romney by three points. and he actually trails romney on handling of the economy by four points, 47-43. and though the president narrowly leads in the tax issue, 45-42, romney 's only double digit advantage comes in handling the federal deficit. this poll confirms sort of the two mind-sets the campaigns are on right now. team obama wants to make it about a choice with romney . they think they can win that campaign. the romney campaign wants to make it a referendum on the economy. and this poll shows why both strategies are potentially effective.