During an appearance on CNN’s the Situation Room, a visibly frustrated Norquist — president of Americans for Tax Reform — said that Bush “kind of stepped in it a little bit” when he told the House Budget Committee that signing Norquist’s pledge to never raise taxes is tantamount to “outsourc[ing] your principles and convictions to people.” Norquist claimed that Bush had insulted Mitt Romney by abandoning the pledge:
NORQUIST: [Bush] went on to kind of insult Governor Romney because Governor Romney has made a written commitment to the American people said, ‘when I get to Washington I’m not going to raise taxes. The problem is too much spending and we’ll reform government and we’re not going raise taxes, so when i go and see a problem in Washington like Obama’s overspending, I’m not going to raise taxes, I’m going to reduce spending.’ And unfortunately what Jeb Bush said was that that was outsourcing his principles.
During Friday’s Budget Committee hearing, Bush also broke with Romney to say that he would support tax increases in order to reduce the growing deficit. “If you could bring to me a majority of people to say that we’re going to have $10 in spending cuts for $1 of revenue enhancement — put me in, coach,” he said. Romney specifically rejected the 10-1 deal during a GOP presidential debate in August.
Dozens of candidates promoted by the National Republican Congressional Committee have refused to sign the pledge. As Rep. Steve King (R-IA) recently asked, “I signed this pledge, but what do we do when we get taxes down to where they need to be? At some point we’re going to cut taxes too much. What’s the answer then?”