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A Giuliani Tax Pledge?

Rudy Giuliani has consistently refused to pledge not to raise taxes as president, much to the consternation of groups like Americans for Tax Reform.

In a recent New Hampshire debate, he seemed to close the book on the matter, saying that "if you're president of the United States, you take one pledge: to uphold the Constitution of the United States. There would be literally thousands of issues on which you would take a pledge if you let groups do that to you."

But listen to what the former mayor said this morning, speaking to an equally conservative group, the tax-cutting Club for Growth, in Washington D.C. Asked about whether he would pledge not to raise taxes to save the social security system, Giuliani said the following:

"I would rule out a tax increase for that purpose or any other purpose," he said flatly, earning applause from the room of conservatives.

Sounds kind of like a no-tax pledge.

The one supported by ATR, and made famous by its leader, Grover Norquist, reads: "I, ____________, pledge to the taxpayers of the _____ district of the State of _________ and to all the people of this state, that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.

Asked about Giuliani's comments, his press aide repeated the mayor's stand about only pledging fealty to the Constitution.

Among Giuliani's rivals, Ariz. Sen. John McCain has also refused to sign the no-tax pledge, saying his record in the U.S. Senate speaks for itself. Former senator and Hollywood actor Fred Thompson has also refused, saying he is bound by "principle" not pledges.

Former Massachusetts governor has signed the tax pledge and is touting that fact in radio advertisements in states holding early presidential voting. Romney is a convert to the pledge. Campaigning for governor in Massachusetts in 2002, Romney declined to sign it. His aide at the time called it "government by gimmickry."

"I'm proud to be the only major candidate for president to sign the tax pledge," Romney says in the ad (which prompted a complaint from former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who also signed it.

--Michael D. Shear

By Washington Post Editor  |  October 17, 2007; 12:15 PM ET
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