President Obama’s latest line of attack against GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney ran into resistance Monday even before he fired the first salvo at a town-hall meeting in Ohio.
Mr. Obama wanted to highlight a new “nonpartisan” economic study that claims Mr. Romney’s tax proposals would create 800,000 jobs overseas, instead of here at home. It was an extension of the Obama campaign’s unwavering assault on the Republican as a career “outsourcer” of American jobs to foreign competitors.
“I want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Ohio,” Mr. Obama said to cheers from the audience of about 1,200 at the Cincinnati Music Hall, on his latest trip to the critical swing state this year.
But even before the president took the stage, it was being widely reported that many members of Mr. Obama’s own Jobs Council and his Export Council have endorsed Mr. Romney’s ideas on taxing multinational corporations’ foreign income. And the president’s own Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction panel had recommended that “a territorial tax system should be adopted to help put the U.S. system in line with other countries, leveling the playing field,” also supporting Mr. Romney’s views.
Further, the economist who conducted the study cited by the president, Kimberly Clausing of Reed College in Portland, Ore., is difficult to describe as a “nonpartisan” academic. She donated $250 to Mr. Obama’s campaign in May, and $242 to the campaign in September. She also has contributed more than $3,000 in recent years exclusively to Democratic campaign committees, including Sen. John Kerry’s presidential bid in 2004 and Howard Dean’s short-lived presidential candidacy.
But none of that necessarily means Mr. Obama’s message will be tuned out by voters. At the campaign event in Cincinnati, the crowd booed and jeered every mention of Mr. Romney’s tax plans, and cheered loudly and rose to its feet as Mr. Obama made his own arguments for re-election. They shouted “he’s right” and “four more years” repeatedly. In another room, there was an overflow crowd of more than 400 people.
The president campaigned in the backyard of Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, who took Mr. Obama to task for comments he made Saturday suggesting that business owners shouldn’t get all the credit for their own success.
“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” said Mr. Obama at a campaign rally in Virginia. “Somebody else made that happen.”
Mr. Boehner said the president “has no idea what it takes to build or run a small business and it shows.”
“He doesn’t understand the risks entrepreneurs take, or the difficulty of meeting a payroll and hiring new workers when the government is standing in the way,” Mr. Boehner said. “Under President Obama, our national unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for more than three years. Prices are higher for everything from gasoline to groceries to health care.”
In January, the president’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness said in a report that many of its members agreed that the U.S. should move to a so-called “territorial” tax system for taxing corporate income.
Such a tax system, the report said, “would eliminate the so-called lock-out effect in the current worldwide system of taxation that discourages repatriation and investment of the foreign earnings of U.S. companies in the United States. These members believe that a territorial system would enhance the ability of U.S. companies to acquire foreign companies and would eliminate tax incentives of U.S. multinationals to merge with or sell their foreign operations to foreign companies. This would also reduce the vulnerability of domestic firms to takeover bids by foreign firms operating with lower tax rates. According to this view, a lower corporate tax rate and the adoption of a territorial system would increase the competitiveness of U.S. companies relative to their foreign counterparts in the United States and elsewhere, adding to the U.S. jobs that are needed to grow and support global growth.”