Tom Cole: Let’s ‘do the right thing’

November 29, 2012

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) is standing by his call to extend the Bush tax cuts for income under $250,000 a year, despite criticism from members of his own party who want to extend all or none of the tax cuts. 

"Why not just do the right thing?" he asked CNN's "Starting Point" on Thursday morning. "We know at the end of the day neither side wants to raise taxes on the average American. Let's just do that now and continue our discussion and debate." Tax cuts for the highest earners, he said, can be dealt with later. 

Cole minimized his differences with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has publicly criticized the Oklahoma Republican's proposal.

“I think the speaker’s doing a great job," Cole said. "I think at the end of the day, he’ll negotiate a tough deal. Every time he’s done that, I’ve been there and voted for that and tried to persuade others. You know, I haven’t seen the deal yet, but I suspect I’ll be there again.”

The difference of opinion was "a discussion among Republicans about tactics," he said. "It's not a division or debate." 

In response to Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), who suggested Cole was part of the government-spending problem, Cole said, “I love Raul. He’s a great guy. But in this case, honestly he is new here, and he doesn’t know what he’s talking about in terms of my record on spending and taxes." 

As for Democrats praising his position, Cole said, "I've never had so many nice things said about me by people that I don't agree with on anything."

Rachel Weiner covers cops and courts in Arlington and Alexandria.
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Rachel Weiner | November 29, 2012