Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is blasting both political parties in Washington, D.C. for the impasse over extending a tax cut for most Americans.
“This is an example of why people are sick of Washington and sick of politics,” Gingrich said this morning in Des Moines. (Find audio of the news conference here.)
Most Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate have voted for a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut as a compromise, as the tax cut expires at the end of the year, but House Republicans refuse to take up the bill.
“They can’t figure out how to pass a one-year extension, so the senate leaves town?” Gingrich said. “I mean, it is an absurd dereliction of duty and it’s game playing.”
GOP candidate Michele Bachmann, a Minnesota Congresswoman, has been an opponent of the payroll tax cut, dismissing it as a “gimmick.” Gingrich told reporters in Iowa today that he would vote for an extension of the payroll tax, because now is not the time to increase the tax burden on “working American families.”
“Obama is so inept as a president and the congress is so dysfunctional as an institution that we are lurching from failure to failure to failure in a way that I think the American people find very, very disheartening, to think that their leadership cannot get together and be mature,” Gingrich said. “And it’s all game playing.”
About 200 people gathered in Mount Pleasant over the noon hour today to hear Ron Paul. Paul’s rivals accuse him of being an isolationist, but according to Paul, the American public would find cuts in defense spending much more palatable than cuts in domestic programs.
“I think politically we should bring people together — left or right or independent or what — and say, ‘Yes, we know we’re in deep trouble and we have to cut. Let’s let’s cut the overseas spending,'” Paul said, getting applause and cheers from the crowd in Mount Pleasant.
AUDIO of Paul’s remarks in Mount Pleasant.
Paul would bring U.S. troops home from Korea, Japan and the Middle East.
“I’m convinced we’d have a stronger national defense than we have now because we are more threatened by the people who rather resent it that we’re in their face and telling them what to do and deciding who the bad guys are and (we) use these drones just at will, any place we go,” Paul said. “The world is the battlefield now.”
Paul offered up a theory as to his rise in polls, which now show he’s at or near the lead in the race.
“There are other candidates and they talk a different language than I do, but I don’t see them challenging the status quo,” Paul said. “….This is a time that we have a chance to send a strong message.”
Paul is one of three candidates who will visit Mount Pleasant today. Michele Bachmann is due there sometime after four o’clock. Bachmann began her campaign day at 9:30 this morning with a visit to Elly’s Tea and Coffee House in Muscatine.
“I’m an Iowan. I’m one of them,” Bachmann told a local reporter. “And I want to take the Iowa voice and values that I learned here in Iowa to the White House because this makes a lot more sense than what the politicians are doing in Washington.”
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry made a stop in Muscatine over the noon-hour, with Louisiana’s Republican governor campaigning along-side.
“We’ve got two states down there, side-by-side, that are very competitive and very much job-creation,” Perry said. “Texas led the nation in job creation for the entire decade of the 2000s and that’s what most Americans are looking for.”
Perry is due to visit Mount Pleasant in the four o’clock hour, too, but he’ll be at a bakery. Bachmann will be at a Pizza Ranch. Rick Santorum is campaigning in southeast Iowa today as well.
(Theresa Rose of KLMJ in Mount Pleasant and Phil Roberts in Davenport contributed to this report.)