Romney Criticizes Clinton, Obama Touts Tax Plan

Friday, November 2nd 2007, 10:11 am
By: News On 6

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) _ Democrat Barack Obama promoted his tax relief plan and Republican Mitt Romney likened Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's experience to an internship in television ads that the two presidential candidates began airing Friday in New Hampshire.

Romney, a former venture capitalist and Massachusetts governor, tells voters in the 30-second ad that Clinton lacks sufficient experience to run the country and that at best she has been an intern in the White House.

``Hillary Clinton wants to run the largest enterprise in the world. She hasn't run a corner store. She hasn't run a state. She hasn't run a city,'' Romney says in the spot. ``She has never run anything. And the idea that she could learn to be president as an internship just doesn't make any sense.''

Clinton, the former first lady who was elected a U.S. senator in 2000, spent the 1990s as a key player in her husband's administration. But by Romney calling the time an ``internship,'' he invokes the scandals of President Bill Clinton's relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Obama's 30-second spot features him talking to a small crowd, decrying the income gap between the nation's wealthiest and middle-income workers.

``This administration has further divided Wall Street from Main Street,'' he tells his audience. ``You've got CEOs who are making more in 10 minutes than ordinary workers are making in a year.''

Speaking directly to the camera, Obama adds: ``My plan says 'Let's restore some balance to our tax code. Close these corporate loopholes the lobbyists put in. And let's make sure that tax breaks are given to people who really need it.''

Obama's tax message can have special resonance in New Hampshire, a state that prides itself for not having a sales tax or a state income tax. Obama has proposed financing more than $80 billion in annual tax relief for workers and the elderly with tax increases on wealthy investors and the elimination of some corporate tax loopholes. The campaign has not specified what the rate increases on upper income taxpayers would be.

His plan would provide a $1,000 tax credit to families and would eliminate income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000.

Romney's spot added to the criticism of Clinton, who was widely assailed by her Democratic rivals during and after Tuesday night's debate in Philadelphia. Romney, by weighing in from the GOP side, borrowed a page from fellow Republican Rudy Giuliani, who for months has tried to bypass his primary rivals and move directly to the November 2008 contest.

Romney and Obama have been running ads statewide in New Hampshire and in the expensive Boston-media market. Romney is spending nearly $300,000 a week on ads aimed at New Hampshire voters and Obama is spending more than $300,000 a week for his spots. Romney has spent about $3.5 million in New Hampshire primary ads so far and Obama has spent more than $1.5 million, according to data compiled by other campaigns.