Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney -- who argued against the inclusion of any tax increases in a debt ceiling deal -- touted tax hikes in Massachusetts in a pitch to S&P to get the state's credit rating raised when he was governor in 2004.
Politico's Ben Smith FOIA'd the presentation that the credit rating agency saw before deciding to raise the Massachusetts credit rating from AA- to AA. In it, Romney's administration pointed out how the state raised taxes in 2002 (before he took office) during an economic downturn and how, as governor, he introduced legislation to raise revenues including closing tax loopholes.
Romney, currently the front-running Republican in the 2012 presidential race, has used the successful '04 bid to raise the Massachusetts credit rating as a talking point against the president in the wake of S&P's downgrading of U.S. debt. Romney said, "when I was governor, S&P rewarded Massachusetts with a credit rating upgrade for our sound fiscal management and the underlying strength of our economy."
However, as Smith notes, Romney's pitch to S&P in 2004 "bears a far closer resemblance to the right-of-center grand compromise rejected by House Republicans this year -- dismissed because it would include new taxes and end tax breaks President Barack Obama described as 'loopholes' -- or the more modest compromise that passed, than to the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan Romney 'applauded'."
The Atlantic Wire's Rebecca Greenfield points out that "of course this isn't the first time Romney has veered from his policies as governor -- remember Massachusetts health care reform?"