- - Thursday, January 5, 2012

CAMPAIGN

Study: Romney plan raises taxes on poor

A new independent study says Republican Mitt Romney’s tax plan would increase taxes on low-income families while cutting taxes for the middle-class and the rich.

The study by the Tax Policy Center says, on average, households making less than $20,000 would see their taxes increase by more than 60 percent by letting tax cuts enacted under President Obama expire. Those tax cuts target low-income families.

The study by the independent research group says people making more than $1 million would get tax cuts averaging 15 percent.

Mr. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is the front-runner for the GOP nomination for president. Campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Mr. Romney’s plan holds the line on tax rates for individuals and families and dramatically reduces the corporate tax rate to create jobs.

WHITE HOUSE

Jobs report, consumer agency on tap for Obama

President Obama plans to visit the offices of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Friday, just two days after defying Senate Republicans and appointing a new head to the watchdog agency.

The president will drop by the bureau just hours after the government announces unemployment figures for December. A mix of private and government data on Thursday prompted new optimism about a rebounding jobs market.

If Friday’s jobs report shows improvement over the 8.6 percent unemployment rate registered in November, Mr. Obama would have an opportunity to talk up his economic policies while casting himself as a protector of consumers. A rise in joblessness would complicate the president’s message.

Mr. Obama on Wednesday named Richard Cordray to lead the consumer bureau, using a Senate recess to circumvent Republican opposition. 

CAMPAIGN

Bachmann faces new decision back home

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Now that Michele Bachmann has decided to end her run for president, another decision looms for the Minnesota Republican.

She must decide whether to seek a fourth term in the U.S. House or direct her newfound political celebrity elsewhere.

Should Mrs. Bachmann decide to run again in the Republican-leaning 6th District she’d be a heavy favorite, provided it isn’t significantly reshaped by redistricting. But some experts say she might aim for a different role, such as a position in a new Republican administration or a potentially lucrative spot on the speaking circuit.

David FitzSimmons, chairman of the 6th District Republican Party, says Mrs. Bachmann was successful changing the tone of the debate during the presidential campaign. She was particularly outspoken in her opposition to the health care overhaul approved by Congress.

CAMPAIGN

McCain: Republicans should settle quickly on Romney

Just two days after the first votes in the race to pick a Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain says it’s time to wrap things up.

Mr. McCain, who endorsed Mitt Romney to be the GOP nominee a day earlier, says Republicans need to “get this thing done with as quickly as possible and get into the main event.”

The Arizona senator, speaking Thursday on CBS’ “The Early Show,” says Republicans need to focus on beating President Obama.

Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney were rivals for the GOP nomination in 2008. That time, it was Mr. McCain who came away with the nomination, only to lose the presidency to Mr. Obama.

IOWA

Soldier at Paul rally could face legal woes

DES MOINES — An Army reservist who took the stage at a political event for Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and expressed his support for the Republican presidential candidate could face legal troubles, the military said Thursday.

Cpl. Jesse Thorsen, 28, stood at a podium at the Paul rally in Iowa on Tuesday night wearing his military fatigues and said meeting the Texas congressman was like “meeting a rock star.”

“His foreign policy is by far, hands down better than any other candidate’s out there,” Cpl. Thorsen told the cheering crowd.

Army Reserve spokeswoman Maj. Angel Wallace said participating in a partisan political event in uniform is a violation of Defense Department rules, and the military is reviewing whether Cpl. Thorsen could face legal ramifications. Soldiers are permitted to vote, participate in some political activities and express opinions about candidates as long as they are not in uniform and speaking in an official capacity, she said.

She said Cpl. Thorsen was not on active duty at the time of Tuesday’s rally, but it was not immediately clear if that would have any bearing on the case.

Cpl. Thorsen “stands alone in his opinions regarding his political affiliation and beliefs, and his statements and beliefs in no way reflect that of the Army Reserve,” Maj. Wallace said in a statement.

A telephone number for Cpl. Thorsen could not immediately be found.

At Tuesday’s rally at Mr. Paul’s headquarters Ankeny, Iowa, Mr. Paul called Cpl. Thorsen to join him on stage. Cpl. Thorsen then shakes his hand before he steps to the podium.

Drew Ivers, a spokesman for Mr. Paul’s Iowa campaign, said the Cpl. Thorsen’s appearance at the rally was spontaneous and not planned by the campaign.

In a separate interview with CNN on Tuesday, Cpl. Thorsen said he had served in the military for the past decade.

“I’m really excited about a lot of his ideas, especially when it comes to bringing the soldiers home,” he told CNN.

“I’ve been serving for 10 years now, and all 10 years of those have been during wartime. I would like to see a little peacetime Army.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports