In February, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) took the “read my lips” pledge, promising publicly not to raise taxes under any circumstances. “No new taxes,” McCain declared. “Under no circumstances would you increase taxes?” asked ABC’s George Stephanopoulous. “No,” responded McCain. Watch it:
Similarly, top McCain surrogate Carly Fiorina has repeatedly expressed an aversion to raising taxes. “We [should] not raise taxes on the American people,” she said just yesterday on Meet the Press. But in an interview with Bloomberg’s Al Hunt published this weekend, Fiorina said that a McCain administration may be willing to raise taxes on the wealthy, echoing the plan set forth by Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL):
In an interview, Carly Fiorina, a top adviser, explains that any tax increases on “middle- and working-class” Americans are off limits. She says if a bipartisan coalition is “creative enough” to fashion tax increases on wealthier Americans, that may prove palatable.
We are glad to see McCain acknowledging the possibility of doing what most progressives think is now an unfortunate necessity in order to meet the nation’s needs. But Fiorina’s statement is the latest example of the McCain campaign’s inability to nail down where McCain stands on raising taxes. For example, in March, just weeks after making the “read my lips” promise, McCain backtracked:
I’m not making a “read my lips” statement in that I will not raise taxes.
But later that month, McCain reverted back to the no new taxes pledge:
I will wait forever to increase Americans’ taxes because I don’t think that’s beneficial to our economy.
As part of an increasingly muddled economic message, the McCain campaign has made similar flip-flops on a host of issues, including the Bush tax cuts, estate tax, balancing the budget, and privatizing Social Security.