Obama group steps up fight over payroll taxes

White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton

A major fundraising group run by a former White House spokesman for President Obama unveiled a new ad Thursday, hitting Republicans over a temporary payroll tax cut that is set to expire at the end of the month.

Bill Burton, who heads Priorities USA, the so-called independent Super PAC working for Mr. Obama's re-election that is legally prohbited from coordinating with the official Obama campaign, told CBS' "The Early Show" that Democrats plan to contrast their position with Republicans.

In the ad, the narrator, shown as a fictional TV news anchor, says Republicans support taxing the middle class instead of the wealthy, but one Republican disagrees, notably former President Ronald Reagan.

"We're going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. They sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary - and that's crazy. Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver?" the ad quotes Reagan as saying, using a real clip of the former president.

The ad comes as Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill are in talks about extending the payroll tax cut past this year. Democrats want to pay for that tax cut with a tax on the wealthiest Americans, while Republicans are opposed to any tax increases.

"We use Ronald Reagan's own words to talk about fairness in the tax policy. All we are going to do is have very serious direct truthful factual contrasts with Republicans. We don't have to lie in order to make our points," Burton told CBS.

Asked about reports that Mr. Obama is struggling to raise money from large donors, Burton expressed confidence the Democrats would reach their fundraising goals.

"We always thought that most of the money would come next year and not this year. Secondly, we aren't surprised that Republicans are doing better at raising money from their huge contributors," Burton said.

"You look at the tax policies they are promoting, they are designed to attract the kind of million dollar checks that their wealthy donors are giving to them," he added.

Some reports say as much as $1 billion will be spent on the president's re-election effort.

Special report: Election 2012

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    CBSNews.com Deputy Politics Editor Corbett B. Daly is based in Washington. He has worked at Reuters, Thomson Financial News and CBS MarketWatch.