Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, ferociously tore into his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination, former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, last night in Florida at a television debate, labeling him a failed leader, and tarring his image as the first speaker in American history to resign in disgrace.
Moments later, Mr. Romney released his tax records indicating he will pay $6.2 million in taxes on a total of $45.2 million in income over the years 2010 and 2011. The tax matter had been a matter of contention following pressures from both Democrats and peer Republicans who assail him of hiding his tax information.
The tax rate declared by Mr. Romney and his wife Ann, about 14 per cent, is far lower than what most middle class Americans pay. Mr. Romney, a momon, also pays 10 per cent in charity to his church. For the 2010 tax year, Mr. Gingrich earned $3.17million and paid 32 per cent at about $995,000 in taxes with his wife Callistes. President Obama and his wife Michelle earned $1.72 million and paid about $454,000 in taxes.
Conventional wisdom in Washington is that the Romney tax release will add fodder to the agitation of the Occupy Wall Street movement which has led the campaign against the US tax code they are protesting as favouring the top 1 per cent at the detriment of the rest 99 per cent of the population. The same criticism will dog Mr. Romney who holds investments in blind trust in Switzerland and the Cayman Island.
The two other Republican contestants, Senator Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, a medical doctor and former senator have not declared their taxes. Collectively however the four Republican contestants, reflecting the groundswell of attitude of the political base, have displayed a rabid level of anger and naked hostility towards President Obama far in excess of what Americans consider to be decent in even opposition politics.
Mr. Obama will address the American nation tonight in his state of the union address where he is expected to say the economy is gradually recovering, that the job queue is narrowing and that with the complete draw down of troops in Iraq the progress is apace in Afghanistan to complete the draw down. Today’s speech will define the campaign trajectory of Obama and is expected to be written by Sarah Hurwitz, a graduate of the Harvard Law School, and Hilary Clinton’s former chief speech writer. Sarah works in a team of six speech writers led by 28-year old Jon Favreau.