DENVER — Offering deficit-cutting ideas before his first debate with President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney says he might be willing to reduce income tax deductions used by millions of families for home mortgage interest and health care costs
He suggested the changes could be part of a plan that includes a 20 percent cut in tax rates across the board, continuation of upper income tax cuts that Obama wants to end and a comprehensive tax overhaul plan that the Republican presidential contender has so far declined to flesh out in detail. Romney says his overall plans would invigorate the slowly recovering U.S. economy.
While Romney did not commit to making any specific changes, saying he would work with Congress, his suggestions were more specific than those he had offered in the past and provided a new window into his thinking on the subject.
In an interview Monday night with Denver TV station KDVR, Romney said, "As an option you could say everybody's going to get up to a $17,000 deduction. And you could use your charitable deduction, your home mortgage deduction, or others — your health care deduction, and you can fill that bucket, if you will, that $17,000 bucket that way. And higher income people might have a lower number."
Romney also told the Denver Post that he would honor the temporary permission the Obama administration has granted to many young illegal immigrants to allow them to stay in the country.
biden under fire: The candidates left their running mates to rally voters in swing states Tuesday. The Romney campaign pounced after Vice President Joe Biden told a North Carolina audience that the middle class has "been buried the last four years."
Romney posted on Twitter that he agrees with Biden. "The middle class has been buried the last 4 years, which is why we need a change in November." The campaign also scheduled a conference call with former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu to criticize Biden's comments.
Biden told about 1,000 people in Charlotte: "This is deadly earnest. How they can justify, how can they justify raising taxes on a middle class that has been buried the last four years? How in Lord's name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts?"
Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said Romney's campaign was making "another desperate and out-of-context attack."