Ed Rendell: Tax cut extension is "good politics"
(CBS News) Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell said the president's announcement to extend for one year the Bush-era tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 is "good politics" and an issue of "fairness."
As for economic policy, Rendell said it's a better idea than not extending the tax cuts for anyone at all, however he suggested the president use a different income threshold.
It would be "a little easier to make the case" to allow an extension for people earning up to $1 million, Rendell said, adding that couples with three children in college making $251,000 per year "hardly qualifies you as rich."
The president is expected to make an announcement at the White House Monday laying out his plan for extending the cuts. The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, which were extended for two years, are set to expire at the end of the year.
The president's plan puts him at odds against both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Republicans are criticizing the plan, calling it a tax hike during a slow economic recovery, and Democratic leaders had previously endorsed a plan using the $1 million threshold.
"It's difficult to draw the line," Rendell said, but added that "a million has a great sound to it."
Rendell, the former head of the Democratic National Committee, said the president's attacks against Romney on outsourcing "and things like that" are working in battleground states among white, blue collar workers. Rendell cautioned the president's campaign, though, for attacking Romney for his wealth. "I think people remember that FDR and JFK, they were wealthy people and did a lot to help working people," he said.
He said it's more important to challenge what he's done during his career. "The things he did at Bain, he has money in Swiss bank accounts, that's more pertinent than it is just to say he's wealthy. Big deal," he said.
"It's a big risk if you go over the top," Rendell said, adding that after a few missteps earlier in the race, the campaign is now "getting the right pitch and the right message."
Rendell also cautioned the president's campaign for placing too much blame on the Republicans and the previous administration for the economy.
"It's okay for the president to go back and say remember when we were losing 750,000 jobs a month. Now we're gaining jobs," he said. "But to keep pointing the finger of blame at someone else doesn't resonate anymore," Rendell said.
Rendell, however, rejected criticism that the president isn't being specific enough with his proposals for a second term, saying that the summer months of campaign season is about "defining your opponent" and that once the conventions roll around at the end of the summer, the president will present a clear vision.
"He's got the best short-term solution for getting the economy moving. He's got to hammer that. I think that's what the fall is about," Rendell said.
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