- The Washington Times - Monday, August 20, 2012

GOFFSTOWN, N.H. — Borrowing a key element of the anti-government libertarianism that fueled rival Ron Paul’s presidential campaign, Mitt Romney said Monday that he thinks the Federal Reserve should face an audit.

“Very plain and simple, the answer is yes. The Federal Reserve should be accountable. We should see what they’re doing,” Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said at a town hall in New Hampshire.

Mr. Romney also pushed back against President Obama’s claims that the former Massachusetts governor would raise taxes on the middle class if elected.

“Let me tell you the heart of my tax proposal: I will not raise taxes on the American people, I will not raise taxes on middle-income Americans,” Mr. Romney told supporters at St. Anselm College, where he and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan made a grand entrance to the theme song from the movie “Rudy.”

The visit marked the first joint appearance for Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan in New Hampshire — a state that could prove pivotal come Election Day.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan visited New Hampshire on Monday to rebut ... more >

The event gave Mr. Romney a chance to fire back at Mr. Obama, who two days earlier in nearby Windham told voters that Mr. Romney’s tax plan would mean that the wealthy get a tax cut and middle-class families will pay more.

“They have been trying to sell this trickle-down snake oil before,” he said Saturday. “It did not work then. It will not work now.”

Mr. Romney fielded seven questions during the town hall, including the question about auditing the Fed.

Mr. Romney’s answer puts him on the same page of the issue as Mr. Paul, the congressman from Texas who is Mr. Romney’s only remaining active opponent in the GOP presidential race.

Mr. Romney’s embrace of the Paul position puts him at odds with Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, who has said a broad audit would be a “nightmare” for the board.

Earlier this year, the House passed Mr. Paul’s bill to grant the Government Accountability Office the power to conduct such a broad audit, though Senate Democrats have shown no inclination to bring that bill to the floor.

Still, the issue has continued to gain political currency since the 2008 economic collapse.

Mr. Romney said he doesn’t want Congress to meddle too much in the business of the Federal Reserve, which is the independent agency the government set up to manage the country’s monetary policy. But he said it should be audited as part of the effort to make the connections between the government and wealthy campaign contributors more transparent.

Mr. Paul has been lobbying for the Republican platform committee, which was to meet later Monday, to add the Fed audit as an official position.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, the committee’s chairman, told The Washington Times last month that he supports accountability at the Fed, and said the committee was looking at a number of Mr. Paul’s ideas.

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