At Debate, Yepsen Cites GOP 'Dogma Against Taxes' as Obstruction to Fixing Bridges

As a questioner, along with George Stephanopoulos, of Republican presidential candidates at the Sunday debate in Iowa carried on ABC's This Week, veteran Des Moines Register political reporter and current columnist David Yepsen pressed the candidates to raise taxes. For the last question in the first hour of the 90 minute session from Drake University, Yepsen urged Mike Huckabee: “Is it time we raise the federal gas tax to start fixing up our nation's bridges and roads?” After Huckabee answered it was a matter of budget priorities, Yepsen turned to Rudy Giuliani: “In Minnesota, Governor Pawlenty, who vetoed an increase in his state gas tax, said now he may consider one. Is this Republican dogma against taxes now precluding the ability of you and your party to come up with the revenues that the country needs to fix its bridges?” Giuliani suggested Yepsen's formulation presumed a “Democratic liberal assumption: I need money, I raise taxes.”

In two weeks, ABC's This Week will gather Democrats for a debate. Will their “dogma against cutting spending” be cited as an impediment to prioritizing money to fix bridges?

Part of the August 5 exchange between Yepsen and Giuliani:
YEPSEN: In Minnesota, Governor Pawlenty, who vetoed an increase in his state gas tax, said now he may consider one. Is this Republican dogma against taxes now precluding the ability of you and your party to come up with the revenues that the country needs to fix its bridges?

GIULIANI: David, there's an assumption in your question that is not necessarily correct, sort of the Democratic liberal assumption: I need money, I raise taxes.

YEPSEN: Then what are you going to cut, sir? What do you cut?
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center