Nightly News | September 13, 2010
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: We turn also tonight, the economy and politics, a big fight during the Bush years is now back and bigger than ever. It's about tax cuts passed into law back then, but they're due to expire this September -- this December, rather. This issue has gotten all tied up in election-year politics. Now there's talk of a compromise, but it's about real money to the American's affected. We get more from our chief White House correspondent and political director, Chuck Todd , tonight. Chuck , good evening.
CHUCK TODD reporting: Well, good evening, Brian . Look , it's 50 days and counting to the November midterm elections. We know the economy is dominating the debate. Today, the White House and Republicans skirmishing over the future of those so-called Bush tax cuts . President Obama took his unofficial campaign on behalf of embattled Democrats to a backyard in suburban northern Virginia , where he compared the state of the economy to a bad car accident.
President BARACK OBAMA: The country went through a huge trauma. It takes some time to recover. Now part of what's holding us back is us needing to go ahead and feel confident about the future.
TODD: The most immediate debate between the president and Republicans in Congress is the future of the so-called Bush tax cuts , set to expire this year. The president wants to extend the tax cuts just for families he calls middle class , those who make less than $250,000. Republicans want to extend all the tax cuts , including those for high-income earners. But on Sunday, Republican John Boehner , the man who could be the next Speaker of the House , wavered.
Congressman JOHN BOEHNER: If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I'll vote for them.
TODD: The White House eagerly responded.
Mr. ROBERT GIBBS (White House Press Secretary): It sounded to us yesterday like there was a willingness by the -- by Congressman Boehner to go to the president's position of keeping middle-class tax relief in place.
TODD: But behind the scenes the real motivation of the White House is to continue its campaign to cast Boehner as the face of the Republican opposition. To that end, press secretary Robert Gibbs spent most of Sunday on Twitter in a back-and-forth battle with Boehner . But the president isn't just debating Republicans on taxes; key Senate Democrats aren't convinced that now is the time to raise taxes on the rich, either.
TODD: And some economists are nervous about any tax increases in the short term.
Mr. MARK ZANDI (Moody's Economy.com): I think if we raise anyone's tax rates in 2011 when the recovery is so fragile, we're taking a chance that the recovery goes back into recession.
TODD: And, Brian , tomorrow's the final big primary day of the year. We're watching Delaware , where a tea party challenge could cost the Republicans an easy shot at winning Joe Biden 's Senate seat in November.
WILLIAMS: All right, Chuck Todd with all things political from the White House tonight. Chuck , thanks.