Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney joined Wolf Blitzer on CNN Tuesday to provide some specifics about his plan to reform the U.S. tax code — more specifically, which deductions and loopholes he would close and how he would recover the loss in revenue that comes with cutting taxes. However, he first vowed to stand by Israel as president, no matter what happens.
Addressing Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Romney said he is committed to stopping the radical regime from developing a nuclear warhead.
“There’s no daylight between the United States and Israel,” he said. “We’re both absolutely committed to preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon. My own test is Iran should not have the capability of producing a nuclear weapon… I can’t speak for the president in this regard.”
The GOP nominee also said he would have Israel’s back both at the U.N and “militarily.” He said Israel attacking Iran would not surprise him if he were president.
Blitzer then pressed Romney about his plan to reform the tax code.
“I’ve made it pretty clear that my principles are; number one, simplify the code. Number two, create incentives for large business and small businesses to grow. Number three, don’t reduce the burden on high income tax payers. And, number four, remove the burden somewhat for middle income people,” Romney said.
The GOP nominee said he would make up for the dip in tax revenue through “additional growth” and putting a limit on deductions and exemptions, “particularly for people at the high end.”
“What I want to do is make it simpler, fairer – I want to encourage the economy to grow again. It’s pretty clear that the economy is not growing at the rate it should under the president.”
Romney said common deductions like mortgage and charitable contribution deductions would remain in place.
Blitzer asked Romney to be more specific about how he would go about limiting deductions.
“I’m not going to lay out a piece of legislation here because I intend to work together with Democrats and Republicans in Congress, but there are a number of ways you can approach this,” Romney replied. “One would be to have a total cap number – it could be $25,000, $50,00 – and people could put whatever deduction in that cap that they would like. Or, instead, you could take the posture that Bowels-Simpson did, which is going after specific deductions and limiting them in various ways.”
Romney continued: “I don’t want to make the code less progressive. I want high income people to continue to pay the same share they do today.”
The Republican nominee reiterated that it would be necessary to limit tax exemptions and deductions for the rich in order to pay for across-the-board tax cuts.
Blitzer then asked, “Would that add up to the $4.8 or $5 trillion that’s been estimated your tax — your comprehensive tax reduction would cost?”
Romney seemingly avoided the question as he never provided a clear answer. However, he did say that the Obama campaign’s claim that he is calling for a $5 trillion “tax cut” is “completely wrong.”
Romney said cutting taxes for all citizens and corporations will make America a “more attractive place for small business and large business to invest and to add jobs.”
“We’re not seeing the kind of job creation America ought to see following a recession. And we’re not going to see that growth unless we have a tax policy which encourages business — small and large — to make investments and to hire people. That’s why I want to put in place the plan I described,” he added.
Watch Romney’s interview on CNN here:
Front page photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images.