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Romney and Giuliani Clash on Taxes

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney attacked rival Rudy Giuliani for opposing a presidential line-item veto and for fighting to maintain a commuter tax in New York City.

The criticism, leveled during Romney's latest campaign swing through New Hampshire, earned a quick rebuke from former Massachusetts governor Paul Cellucci, who is supporting the former New York mayor's campaign.

Cellucci accused Romney of "desperation" because his lead in New Hampshire polls appears to be falling. Cellucci said Romney as governor "had no broad-based tax cuts. He had a sales tax holiday, which is about the best you can say."

The Romney-Giuliani clash over fiscal issues reflects a new dynamic in the GOP nomination fight as the campaign focuses on early states like New Hampshire, where concern about spending and taxes is paramount.

Campaigning in Manchester this morning, Romney told reporters that Giuliani opposed eliminating his city's tax on commuters when the then-Republican governor attempted to kill it.

"Can you imagine what would have happened up here in New Hampshire if I, as governor of Massachusetts, said everybody who commutes to Massachusetts has got to pay an extra special tax as a commuter?" Romney asked. "It just seems absolutely wrong."

Cellucci, speaking on behalf of Giuliani during a conference call arranged by the campaign, called the commuter tax "an existing tax" and accused Romney of failing to reduce the income tax as he had pledged to do.

"Mitt Romney said he was going to cut the income tax from 5.3 percent to 5 percent," Cellucci said. "When he left, the income tax was still 5.3 percent."

Romney also criticized Giuliani for his support in 1997 of a lawsuit challenging the line-item veto for then-President Clinton was a "serious mistake" on the former mayor's part. The U.S. Supreme Court found the line-item veto unconstitutional.

"Because he won, he killed the line-item veto," Romney said.

Cellucci said the mayor supports the presidential line-item veto but believes it must be created with a constitutional amendment.

--Michael D. Shear

By Washington Post editors  |  October 4, 2007; 1:15 PM ET
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The problem with Giuliani and Romney is they are polar opposites... at least now that Romney has re-invented himself now that he out of MA and mach gto his LDS roots. In order to appeal to the right-wing Christians and Evangelicals he has to beome neo-Christian, but he may do more damage to his LDS Church than he suspects. does an excelleny job of addrressing the real constitutional issues.

Posted by: mark_hafner | October 6, 2007 5:34 AM | Report abuse

I have been abusing my commenting privileges with personal attacks lately. I feel it is a privilage and I am greatful to the Post for allowing me to express my opinions. I am often reduced to the lowest denominator after reading what's coming down. I want to comment on Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Romney but how do I do that without personal attacks. I guess I wont say anything more.

Posted by: adobelane | October 6, 2007 12:43 AM | Report abuse

ROMNEY VS. RUDY ON TAX ISSUE. Be careful Romney that SOB can handle a gun, not like Deadeye (Cheney). This guy (Rudy) is a pro with gun and night stick, and is just mean enough to try to get his by any method. THAT IS JUST THE PRESIDENT WE DO NOT NEED. Rudy uses gangster technices, GWB uses CRAFTY TECHNICES. but no BRAINS. hE JUST NEVER LEARNED TO READ AND LEARN THE eNGLISH LANGUAGE. yALE -ha hA

Posted by: LOONYBIN2000 | October 4, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

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