ABC's Muir Hypes Romney's 'Sudden Shift,' Misleadingly Says Obama Not Increasing Taxes

Good Morning America on Wednesday touted "stunning" new polls out of Ohio that show Mitt Romney trailing. ABC reporter David Muir pushed a minor comment by the Republican as a "sudden shift." Muir hyped, "After repeatedly saying President Obama raised taxes during his first term...suddenly Romney appeared to be saying the President hasn't raised taxes." [See MP3 audio here. Video below.]

Romney's remark that Obama "did not" raise taxes was in reference to income taxes. Yet, this slight change in phraseology led Muir to position himself as a surrogate for the President, defending, "Romney's comments made immediate headlines. In fact, the President has not raised income tax rates in his first term." But, of course, Obama has increased taxes. As Forbes.com pointed out, Obamacare is now a tax that applies to the middle class. Additionally, the President has promised more taxes in his second term.

Forbes writer Peter Ferrara explained:

CBO estimates that health insurance will cost $15,000 per year on average for families soon after Obamacare is fully implemented, rising rapidly from there.  That is the individual mandate tax on the middle class and working people.

Of course, Obamacare includes a whole new entitlement program (just what we need) providing health insurance welfare for families making up to $88,000 a year to start, rising to over $100,000 a year after a few years.  With that welfare, the net cost to families at different income levels is limited to 2 percent of income for people at 133 percent of poverty up to 9.8 percent of income for people at 400 percent of poverty.  But that in itself is still like a new payroll tax, or income tax surcharge.

Additionally, the President in July called for extending the Bush tax cuts for just a single year. Ferrara broke down what Americans can expect starting January 1, 2013:

But the Obama policies already enacted under current law would raise the top tax rates on Jan. 1 for almost every federal tax for the nation’s job creators, investors and small businesses, with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the Obamacare tax increases becoming effective.

As a result, the top two income tax rates would increase by nearly 20%, the capital gains tax rate would increase nearly 60%, the tax on dividends would nearly triple, the Medicare payroll tax rate would increase by 62% for these disfavored taxpayers, and the death tax rate would rise from the grave with a 57% increase in the top rate.

As for the new polling data, George Stephanopoulos breathlessly began GMA by teasing, "And developing now, stunning new numbers out of the battleground states."

Nicolle Wallace, who worked on John McCain's 2008 campaign, appeared on the program to deride Romney's chances: "But his campaign is now in need of the same kind of turnaround that the Salt Lake City Olympics were in need of when he landed there."

A transcript of the September 26 David Muir segment follows:


7am tease

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And developing now, stunning new numbers out of the battleground states. President Obama breaking away from Mitt Romney in key regions with just 41 days to go. Is Romney poised to lose in must-win Ohio?

7:06

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The race for the White House now. Your voice, your vote. And a bunch of new polls show that Mitt Romney has his back to the wall with just 41 days to go. He's behind in all the key battlegrounds, none more important than the Buckeye state, Ohio. And ABC's David Muir starts us off from there. Good morning, David.

DAVID MUIR: Hey, George. Great to see you. And those new poll numbers you speak of have some pretty daunting numbers for Mitt Romney. Down, trailing the President by ten points in Ohio. Nine points behind the President in Florida. Both states he desperately needs, which is why Romney is here in Ohio today. But so is the President. Dueling rallies in the Buckeye battleground. Together on the trail for the first time in more than a month, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan looking to halt the President's growing lead in Ohio. No Republican has won the White House without it.

PAUL RYAN: O-H!

MUIR: But in front of that Ohio crowd, what appeared to be a sudden shift from Romney, in one of his key arguments. After repeatedly saying President Obama raised taxes during his first term--

MITT ROMNEY: The President has now raised taxes on the middle class. He's raised taxes on middle-income Americans.

MUIR: –suddenly, Romney appeared to be saying the President hasn't raised taxes.

ROMNEY: He has one, new idea. I admit this. He's got one thing he did not do in his first four years, he said he's going to do in the next four years, which is to raise taxes.

MUIR: Romney's comments made immediate headlines. In fact, the President has not raised income tax rates in his first term. He is proposing raising rates on families making $250,000 more or. The Romney campaign, telling me that's what he was talking about. And overnight Governor Romney trying to manage expectations for his next big moment. One week from tonight, that first debate with the President.

MITT ROMNEY: The President is obviously a very eloquent, gifted speaker. He'll do just fine. You know, I've never been in a presidential debate like this.

 MUIR: While overnight his wife, Ann, talking about the last time Romney ran.

ANN ROMNEY: Four years ago, I made a videotape. And I said, Mitt, this is for you, sweetheart. I'm never doing this again. And he looked at it. And he said, you know, Ann, you say that after every pregnancy.

MUIR: Some humor from Ann Romney overnight. This campaign tells me they believe the race, particularly here in Ohio, is closer than these polls indicate. But they need a game-changing moment, George. They acknowledge that. And it could come one week from tonight. As I mentioned, the debate. But you heard Mitt Romney overnight trying to manage expectations in the days leading up to it.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org