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MANSFIELD, Ohio — President Barack Obama today accused Republican Mitt Romney of championing tax cuts that would benefit the wealthy but squeeze middle-class families.
In visits to a critical region of a critical battleground state, the Democratic president cited a new study by a bipartisan think tank that projects Mr. Romney’s support for continuing existing Bush-era tax cuts plus additional cuts and breaks would help the wealthy and the poor would have to be paid for with a net increase for the middle class.
“The entire centerpiece of my opponent’s economic plan is a new $5 trillion tax cut on top of the Bush tax cuts,” Mr. Obama told a crowd of about 2,000 gathered in a downtown Mansfield park.
“Now, the bulk of the tax cut would go to the very top,” he said. “A lot of it would go to the wealthiest 1 percent of all households. Folks making more than $3 million a year, the top one-tenth of 1 percent, would get a tax cut worth almost a quarter of a million dollars. Now think about that…Under my opponent’s plan, who do you think gets the bill for these $250,000 tax cuts? You do.”
Although Mr. Obama called it an independent study, the Tax Policy Center includes an economist formerly with his administration.
“If Governor Romney wants to keep his word and pay for this plan, then he’d have to cut tax breaks that middle-class families depend on, to pay for your home, the home mortgage deduction, to pay for your health care and health-care deduction, to send your kids to college,” Mr. Obama said.
“That means the average middle-class family with children, according to this study, would be hit with a tax increase of more than $2,000,” Mr. Obama said. “And here’s the thing. He’s not asking you to contribute more to pay down the debts. He’s not asking you to pay more to invest in our children’s education or rebuild our roads or put more folks back to work. He’s asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a big tax cut.
“In order to afford just one $250,000 tax cut for somebody like Mr. Romney, 125 families like yours would have to pay an another $2,000 in taxes each and every year,’’ he said “Does that sound like a good plan for economic growth?”
The visits to Mansfield and a similar later event in Akron came on the same day that a new Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times swing-state poll showed Mr. Obama leading Mr. Romney by six percentage points in Ohio, just outside the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
Mr. Obama leads with 50 percent of 1,193 likely voters questioned compared to 44 percent for Mr. Romney. He leads 51 percent to 45 percent in Florida and 53 percent to 42 percent in Pennsylvania.
The poll appears to reinforce a late June poll of registered voters by Quinnipiac that had Mr. Obama up 9 points in Ohio, a poll dismissed by some at the time as inconsistent with the tight race competing polls were showing. The Romney campaign accused the poll of over-sampling Democrats.
No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio, and no Democrat has done it since John F. Kennedy in 1960. In fact, no one has won the presidency without carrying at least two of the three polled swing swings since Mr. Kennedy.
But while the poll held good news, Mr. Obama faced a barrage of criticism for landing at the nearby airport housing the Mansfield National Guard’s 179th Airlift Wing base and four C27-J aircraft that are threatened by proposed post-war Pentagon cuts.
“The President has had no problem asking Ohioans to roll out the welcome mat for frequent campaign trips to Ohio,” said Romney spokesman Chris Maloney. “I think what Ohioans deserve in return is an explanation for these policies which are crushing our local communities.
“Not only is the White House aloof with respect to the airbase that the President’s going to be landing at today, but additionally his policies have wrought a war on coal and coal communities in eastern Ohio the likes of which our state has not seen in some time,” he said.
Former Gov. Ted Strickland accused the Romney campaign of “fear-mongering.”