Mitt Romney derided President Obama’s call for a payroll tax cut extension as a “band aid” in October. But he came out in favor of the move on Monday as the White House makes a new push to prevent taxes from going up on millions of Americans.
“Look, I don’t like temporary little Band-Aids,” Romney said earlier. “I want to fundamentally restructure America’s foundation economically.”
On Monday, however, he endorsed the idea.
“I would like to see the payroll tax cut extended because I know that working families are really feeling the pinch right now — middle-class Americans are having a hard time,” he told radio host Michael Medved.
While he had previously danced around the question in debates, this was the first time since the Democrats’ new effort to renew the extension that he had unequivocally backed keeping the cuts in place.
Romney’s decision didn’t occur in a vacuum. Democrats hammered him over his “band-aids” comments for months, with every tool in their arsenal, saying his comments were out of touch with average Americans’ financial situation. They also noted that he had “appeared to support the extension in interviews only months earlier.
Here’s a typical web video on the issue:
Viewed in that context, this seems like a messaging win for national Democrats.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.