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Rates will go up: White House takes harder line on taxes

The view that “rates would never go up,” held by some Republicans “is not plausible anymore,” says Jay Carney.

As if to make it clear to those who were anticipating some flexibility on whether President Obama would insist on raising tax rates on the highest income earners, the White House today came down hard in favor of the proposed tax increase.

“Rates will go up,” press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at the White House Thursday afternoon, “They have to go up.” He added that this should be obvious from the recent presidential election race to anyone who, in his words, “was not in a coma.”

The Obama administration’s drawing a line in the sand on raising tax rates came a day after deficit reduction panel co-chairman Erskine Bowles suggested to reporters that there might be flexibility on this issue from the president. As Bowles said, “I didn’t sense it, I heard it–not just from the team, but from the president.” A few hours later, responding to Bowles’ remarks, Carney did say that Obama “will not sign an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.” But, at the same press session, Carney also said “the president made clear that he is not wedded to every detail of his plan.â?

Carney obviously said that the president was “wedded” to raising tax rates on top income earners no matter what Bowles sensed or heard. This point was underscored more than once by the president’s top spokesman, who also said that the view that “rates would never go up,” held by some Republicans “is not plausible anymore.”

Carney’s remarks came as the president was having lunch with his former Republican opponent Mitt Romney. Asked by CNN News correspondent Jessica Yellin if Obama is “offering Gov. Romney a job,” Carney replied that the two did not have an agenda over lunch “that includes that kind of offer.”

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com