America's foremost anti-tax crusader is coming to John McCain's defense, after a high-ranking adviser to the Senator suggested that he would - if the conditions proved right - raise taxes on wealthy Americans.
Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform, said he was confident that McCain would not raises taxes should he become president.
"The one thing about McCain is that when he looks in the mirror he sees a guy who keeps his words I believe he will keep his word," Norquist told the Huffington Post. "McCain has made it very clear, repeatedly on air and on TV, read my lips no new taxes, no tax increases."
Such a vote of confidence carries significant weight in conservative circles, not just because Norquist and McCain have clashed in the past, but because there is still a healthy dose of skepticism concerning the Senator's economic policies (tied mainly to his one-time opposition to the Bush tax cuts). Top adviser Carly Fiorina added fuel to that fire when, in an interview with Bloomberg News, she said if a bipartisan coalition is "creative enough," a tax increase on wealthier Americans could be on the table.
"That is not McCain's position and he has made it very clear he will oppose and veto any tax increase. And you couldn't have a bipartisan measure that raises tax rates because 42 senators have all signed a statement not to raise the rate," said Norquist. "I assume that anyone who is speaking for the campaign will do so in a way that is consistent with McCain's position and if she is either misquoted or misspoke that should not in anyway reflect on McCain's consistent position on this subject."
Supplementing his remarks, Norquist had an aide send over documentary evidence of the three times McCain promised on national television to veto any tax increase.
"With the campaigns permission we have sent those three to everybody and their brother," Norquist noted. "So the presidential candidate McCain has made it clear, he has made it very clear, that he not only opposes any tax increase but will pursue three significant tax cuts."
Update: McCain aide, Taylor Griffin, has also distanced the Senator from Fiorina's remarks, telling ABC News:
"The lesson of history is that too many specifics at this point polarize the debate, that is the argument Carly was trying to make. However, John McCain does believe that we can fix Social Security without raising taxes. As president, John McCain will call on Congress to develop a bi-partisan solution to Social Security -- and if they won't, he will."