NBC's Gregory Declares 'Math Simply Doesn't Add Up' in Romney Tax Plan

On Thursday's NBC Today, in an attempt to deflect from Mitt Romney's strong debate performance, fill-in co-host David Gregory grilled Romney advisor Ed Gillespie on the Governor's tax plan: "...he wants to extend the Bush tax cuts, he wants to have further tax cuts beyond that, he wants to increase military spending and he rejected a 10 to 1 ratio when it came to cutting spending and raising revenue. So the math simply doesn't add up, does it?"

Gillespie fact-checked Gregory's supposed fact-check:

There have been six studies now that have analyzed what Governor Romney has proposed in terms of lowering tax rates and expanding the base. We've done that in the past in our country's history, it's resulted in economic growth. It would result in economic growth again. And six of those studies says – say that this could be done, very credible studies, without increasing the deficit.

Gregory then attempted to go after Romney on repealing ObamaCare: "...he says that he would repeal ObamaCare, but he wants to protect those who are getting care with pre-existing conditions. A nonpartisan study came out and said there'd be 89 million Americans who would have gap in that coverage and under President Romney would not be covered with pre-existing conditions."

At the top of the 8 a.m. et hour, correspondent Andrea Mitchell did some more fact-checking of the debate. She dismissed Romney's plan to cut federal funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting: "In fact, Big Bird and PBS's parent, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, get only .01% of the federal budget."

Like Gregory, Mitchell attempted to tear down Romney's tax plan:

Romney has proposed making the Bush tax cuts permanent for everyone, then cutting all rates an additional 20%. He would also repeal the alternative minimum tax and permanently repeal the estate tax. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center concluded Romney's tax plan would cost $4.8 trillion over ten years. Romney said his plan would be paid for by closing loopholes and getting rid of deductions. But again, he refused to be specific.

Mitchell did include some fact-checking of Obama, explaining that the President's deficit reduction plan was not what it seemed:

Mr. Obama is counting money saved by letting the Bush tax cuts expire for people making more than $250,000 a year. But he's also counting $1 trillion in savings by drawing down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nonpartisan budget experts call that a gimmick because those wars were deficit financed in the first place.


Here is a full transcript of Gregory's October 4 interview with Gillespie:

7:09AM ET

DAVID GREGORY: Now Team Romney, Ed Gillespie is a senior adviser to the Romney campaign. Ed, good morning.

ED GILLESPIE: Good morning, David. Good to be with you.

GREGORY: So what did Governor Romney achieve last night?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Round One; Romney Campaign On What's Next After Debate]

ED GILLESPIE: I think you had millions of Americans watching Governor Romney, seeing him, many of them for the first time, and a chance to look at him without 30-second attack ads or 12-second snippets on the news. And what they saw was someone who had a command of the facts, who understands what we need to do to get this country moving again. Who had a very fact-based critique of President Obama's policies and a plan to move us forward. And I think that they also saw someone with a record of being able to work across the aisle to get results for his state and someone who would do the same thing for his country.

GREGORY: So, Ed, one of the charges against Governor Romney, and it came from the President, but also from others, that while he put in a strong performance, there are still real gaps in what he'd do, and understanding what he'd do in a couple of key policy areas. One is balancing the budget. He talked about Simpson/Bowles, they were behind the deficit commission. Governor Romney didn't back them. And in fact, they've looked at his own plan and they say, look, he wants to extend the Bush tax cuts, he wants to have further tax cuts beyond that, he wants to increase military spending and he rejected a 10 to 1 ratio when it came to cutting spending and raising revenue. So the math simply doesn't add up, does it?

GILLESPIE: It does, David, actually. There have been six studies now that have analyzed what Governor Romney has proposed in terms of lowering tax rates and expanding the base. We've done that in the past in our country's history, it's resulted in economic growth. It would result in economic growth again. And six of those studies says – say that this could be done, very credible studies, without increasing the deficit.

In fact, a study came out, as you – I'm sure you know, on Tuesday, that said President Obama would raise taxes on middle class families by $4,000 in order just to meet the debt service that he's racking up with $16 trillion in debt now, on our way to $20 trillion if he's reelected.

So I think the American people saw Governor Romney's plans for the future. We didn't hear much, frankly, from President Obama about any second-term agenda, and he didn't have a very credible defense of his first-term agenda. And I think the American people saw that last night.

GREGORY: On health care, he says that he would repeal ObamaCare, but he wants to protect those who are getting care with pre-existing conditions. A nonpartisan study came out and said there'd be 89 million Americans who would have gap in that coverage and under President Romney would not be covered with pre-existing conditions.

GILLESPIE: Governor Romney's made clear that when he repeals ObamaCare – which has, as you know, a very negative impact, not only on our economy in terms of jobs loss, but in terms of the cost of premiums have gone up by $2,500, they go up by another $2,500 if President Obama's reelected. And what Governor Romney has put forward is a plan to repeal it, but also replace it with market-oriented reforms that would help hold down costs through competition. But also, he's not saying we're not going to have a regulated marketplace in health care. There's a role for government in health care. And one of those roles is to ensure that people who have coverage for pre-existing conditions are able to maintain that coverage. And that's part of Governor Romney's plan.

GREGORY: The debate will continue. Ed Gillespie, thanks so much this morning, I appreciate it.

GILLESPIE: Thank you, David.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC