Romney to unveil "accountability scorecard"

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivers a speech in Jerusalem, Sunday, July 29, 2012.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

(CBS News) DENVER - Mitt Romney will unveil a "presidential accountability scorecard" during a campaign event in Colorado on Thursday that he will use to measure his expected success in office while attacking President Obama for failing to achieve goals he set as a candidate.

The scorecard, part of the campaign's push to unveil a plan geared toward the middle class, also is intended partly to counter a study by the Tax Policy Center released on Wednesday that said Romney's plan would result in a net tax increase for lower- and middle-income taxpayers in order to cut taxes for the highest earners.

Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom called the report "a joke" on a Thursday conference call with reporters.

"There are serious flaws with both the authorship of that study and the methodology," he said. "It was co-authored by a member of the Obama White House, someone who was part of the White House economic team, and the study doesn't take into account important aspects of Gov. Romney's plan which will have a positive, pro-growth impact on the economy."

Fehrnstrom was referencing the Brookings Institution's Adam Looney, who served as a senior economist on the president's Council of Economic Advisers. The Tax Policy Center is a joint venture of the left-leaning think tanks the Urban Institute and Brookings. The Obama campaign has countered that another one of the study's authors, Brookings' William Gale, was a senior economist in President George H.W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. Furthermore, the Wall Street Journal reported that when the center published a report on then-rival Rick Perry's tax plan last year, the Romney campaign touted the research and called the center "objective" and "non-partisan."

Kevin Hassett, a Romney economic adviser, added to criticism of the study by calling it a "static" score of Romney's tax plan, not taking into account the job creation that the campaign expects the governor's plan to produce: five to 10 million jobs higher than the baseline over a decade, which would broaden the tax base.

The Obama campaign has seized on the study and released a new online video Thursday to highlight the report, as well as an online calculator that they say allows families to see how they would be affected by Romney's tax plan.

Romney will attempt to shift the message back to the worsening economic climate during an event in a Denver suburb on Thursday featuring the accountability scorecard. He will promise to achieve North American energy independence by 2020, improve education and skills training, expand American access to international markets for trade purposes, cut the deficit, and champion small businesses. None of the proposals in the scorecard are new; instead, the campaign says they are highlighting policies Romney first unveiled a year ago and creating contrasts with the president as voters tune into the general election.

The campaign will also hit Obama campaign manager Jim Messina for potentially breaking the law after a House Republican committee reported Wednesday that, as former deputy chief of staff, Messina used his personal email account to shape policy while avoiding the public record.

"On its face, this appears to be a violation of the law which requires that all official communications be preserved," Fehrnstrom said on the call with reporters.

Briefing reporters on Wednesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said of the allegations, "As you know, Republicans have spent a great deal of time and money on investigations which they themselves have characterized as political." He said Messina would forward all communications from his personal email to his official White House address to ensure they were made part of the presidential record.

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    Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.