JAMESTOWN, N.C. — President Obama is fighting back against what he is calling false advertising.
During a stop at a YMCA here during his bus tour, Obama told a crowd of 1,100 that he was watching Monday Night Football when he saw a television advertisement that implied his jobs plan would raise taxes on most Americans.
“I was watching the football game last night,” Obama said. “They had some ad that didn’t really make much sense.”
Obama didn’t name the advertisement, but it appeared to be a spot titled “Don’t” that was produced by American Crossroads, a conservative political action committee. In the 34-second advertisement, a female narrator begins, “He raised our hopes. He seemed to understand” over images of Obama’s 2008 campaign.
Then the picture cuts to Obama saying during that campaign: “The last thing you want to do is raises taxes in the middle of a recession.”
“But today he’s different,” the narrator continues, showing recent news clips of television reporters saying Obama plans to raise taxes to pay for the jobs plan.
Later, former president Bill Clinton is shown saying in an edited clip that combines two sentences: “I personally don’t believe we ought to be raising taxes. … It won’t solve the problem.”
The ad closes with the slogan on the screen: “We need jobs, not higher taxes.”
On its Web site, American Crossroads said it has bought television airtime this week, at a cost of $800,000, in the Newport News, Roanoke and Charlottesville markets in Virginia and the Greensboro and Greenville-Spartanburg markets in North Carolina.
“Sadly, Obama is unwilling to learn from or admit his errors, as he modeled his new stimulus bill after the first failed stimulus and tied it to a massive tax hike on business owners,” American Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio said Tuesday in an email. “His first stimulus didn’t create jobs, and raising taxes doesn’t create jobs either.”
Obama wasn’t happy with what he saw. (Nor, presumably, is Clinton, who has previously disputed how American Crossroads has characterized his remarks.)
“Let me just be crystal clear in case friends and neighbors ask about this,” Obama said. “What we have said is in order to pay for the jobs plan . . .we are asking the very wealthiest Americans, the top two percent, to pay a little more. I can afford it. Warren Buffett, he can afford it. The fact of the matter is the wealthiest Americans pay a lower tax rate than middle-class Americans.”
To pay for his jobs plan, Obama proposed to eliminate some tax loopholes and writeoffs for people earning more than $200,000 a year, along with tax breaks for oil and gas companies. He called the proposal the “Buffett rule” after the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has said he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary and would be willing to pay higher rates.
Republicans, and some Democrats, objected, and Senate Democratic leaders have produced their own payment plan that would impose a 5 percent surtax on incomes of $1 million or more. Obama has said he supports the revised proposal.
Obama’s plan, which includes infrastructure investments in roads, bridges and schools, also would extend a payroll tax cut that the administration has said would be worth $1,500 to an average family.
“I want to be clear: the vast majority of Americans will see a tax cut under this jobs bill,” Obama said. “Don’t be bamboozled. Don’t fall for this notion that somehow the jobs act is proposing to raise your taxes. It’s just not true.”