Mitt Romney veered off message Tuesday when he told a crowd of supporters in Ohio that President Barack Obama "did not" raise taxes in his first four years in office, undercutting his own line of attack on the president.
"His idea now, he's got one new, he's got a new idea," Romney said during a rally with running mate Paul Ryan. "I admit this, he has one thing he did not do in his first four years, he's said he's going to do in his next four years, which is to raise taxes."
The statement strayed from the Romney campaign's usual criticism of the president. While Obama's efforts to let the Bush-era tax cuts on families with an annual income above $250,000 expire have faltered under Republican opposition, Romney's campaign has repeatedly argued that the president has raised taxes in other ways.
Last week, Romney's campaign cited a Congressional Budget Office report estimating that almost 6 million Americans, mostly in the middle class, would face a tax penalty as a result of Obama's signature health care reform law. Romney himself made a similar criticism in June following the Supreme Court's ruling on the health law, claiming that Obamacare "raises taxes on the American people by $500 billion." And a Romney spokeswoman said in January that the president had raised taxes "19 times."
Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg addressed the Republican presidential candidate's comment in a Tuesday evening statement.
"President Obama has raised taxes on millions of middle-class Americans during his first term in office," Henneberg said. "Governor Romney was clearly communicating about an additional tax increase President Obama is proposing on American small businesses that will jeopardize over 700,000 jobs. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will stop the president’s tax increases, create 12 million new jobs, and turn our economy around."