Here are 10 things you need to know today.
- Romney makes his pitch at NRA meeting: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney made his pitch to gun owners at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Saint Louis, Mo. on Friday, followed up by Newt Gingrich and former presidential candidate Rick Santorum. “If we are going to safeguard our Second Amendment, it is time to elect a president who will defend the rights President Obama ignores or minimizes. I will,” Romney said.
- Obama campaign co-chair needles Romney on gun rights: Romney hasn’t always had the best record on issues important to the NRA, and his speech to the group gave the Obama campaign the rare opportunity to attack a Republican on gun rights. An op-ed by Obama campaign co-chair Ted Strickland, a former Ohio governor, published in POLITICO calls “Romney no straight shooter on NRA.” “When the presumptive Republican nominee speaks to the National Rifle Association’s annual convention on Friday, he’s going to have a tough time explaining a Second Amendment record that’s more scattered than buckshot pellets,” he wrote.
- Obama talks trade in Florida: President Obama made a campaign stop in Florida on Friday before heading to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia over the weekend. The major topic of discussion at the summit is trade, and Obama honed his message before he took off. “I’ve always said that the true engine of job creation in this country is the private sector, not Washington,” Obama said in remarks sent out by the White House. “Our job in government is to help businesses grow and to hire — to create platforms for their success. That’s one of the reasons I’ve cut taxes 17 times for small businesses. That’s why I’ve fought to tear down barriers that were preventing entrepreneurs from getting funding. And that’s why, yes, I’ve traveled around the world, opening new markets, so that American businesses can better compete in the global marketplace.”
- Jeb Bush responds on trade: Even before President Obama made his remarks in Florida, the state’s former Republican governor, Jeb Bush, said he wasn’t doing enough on the issue. “President Obama’s recent decision to focus on trade — a vital component of Florida’s economy — comes three years too late,” Bush said in statement sent out by the Romney campaign. “President Obama missed several opportunities early in his administration to secure quick passage of trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, which together will create thousands of jobs here in Florida.”
- Gallup poll finds Americans favor the “Buffet Rule”: A new Gallup poll shows that Americans favor President Obama’s proposed “Buffet Rule,” which would impose on those making over a million dollars a year a higher marginal tax rate, by a 60 percent to 37 percent margin. Both Democrats and independent voters strongly favor it, and Republicans are against it 43 percent to 54 percent.
- Obama releases his tax return: Tax day (April 17) is nearly here and President Obama has released his joint tax return with First Lady Michelle Obama. The Obamas made $789,674 in 2011 and gave over 20 percent of their income away to various charities. They paid $162,074 in total tax.
- Romney asks for an extension on his taxes: Mitt Romney asked for an extension on filing his taxes from the Internal Revenue Service. Democrats, having already attacked Romney as being out of touch with average Americans because he pays an effective tax rate below 15 percent because his family’s income comes mostly from investments, have said that Romney should release his past returns in addition to the 2011 forms.
- Obama campaign immediately hits Romney on tax extension: The Obama campaign seized the opportunity, charging that Romney isn’t forthright with the American people. “Mitt Romney’s defiance of decades of precedent set by presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle, including his own father, begs the question — what does he have to hide?” campaign manager Jim Messina asked in a statement. “Did he exploit loopholes in the tax code by keeping his investments offshore and is that why he’s protecting those loopholes now? Why did he open a Swiss bank account instead of an American bank account and establish a corporation in Bermuda instead of on our shores? Did he pay a lower income tax rate than the 13.9 percent he paid in 2010 and is that why he opposes the Buffett Rule to ensure millionaires don’t pay less taxes than middle-class families?”
- Walker touts Wisconsin economic growth in new ad: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), facing a recall election June 5, is out with a new ad touting economic growth in his state after pushing through an anti-union measure in the name of curtailing state and local budgets. “We lowered taxes and made it easier for small businesses to keep and to add jobs like the more than 17,000 new jobs we’ve added in the first two months of this year alone,” Walker says in the ad. “And, it’s why the unemployment rate, well it’s the lowest it’s been since 2008.
- No campaign events scheduled today : President Obama is in Colombia for the Summit of the Americas, and neither Romney, Gingrich nor Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) have any campaign events scheduled.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.