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Romney backer supports Obama agenda

Romney campaigns at Carter Machinery in southwest Virginia.
Romney campaigns at Carter Machinery in southwest Virginia.Associated Press

Mitt Romney campaigned yesterday in southwest Virginia, speaking to a crowd of about 1,000 people gathered outside a company called Carter Machinery. That, in and of itself, wouldn't be especially noteworthy, were it not for some of the interesting details about the company and the views of its CEO.

Even before the campaign event, it was interesting to learn that Carter Machinery benefited greatly from President Obama's Recovery Act -- the same law that Romney attacked during his speech. For that matter, as our pal James Carter noted, the company's owner has also touted Obama administration economic policies as having benefited his business.

But that's not all Carter Machinery CEO James Parker said. In local media, Parker criticized Obama for failing to get the highway bill passed, but Obama strongly supports the highway bill -- it's been blocked by Republicans. It led Greg Sargent to give Parker a call.

Parker favors heavy government spending on infrastructure, which he sees as a valid means of creating jobs, favors paying for such spending with a gas tax, sees the federal stimulus spending in his area as a plus, and favors government investment in alternative energy. [...]

"I believe that there's got to be an economic plan to take care of our roads and our bridges," Parker said. "Half a trillion over five years -- over all of the United States." Parker disagreed with Obama's proposal to pay for his own infrastructure plan with a surtax on the wealthy, but he did say he favors a "gas tax" to pay for it.

"You have to have tax revenues to make it happen," he said of his hope for a massive infrastructure plan.

So, let me get this straight. A prominent Romney backer in Virginia believes Obama's right about investing in domestic infrastructure, wants Obama's highway bill to pass, wants to raise taxes, sees Obama's stimulus paying dividends in his area, and agrees with Obama on investing in alternative energy.

In fairness, Parker has plenty of criticisms for the president, too, but if prominent Romney backers from private industry see value in Obama's economic agenda, it makes it just a little more difficult for the Republican to characterize the president's vision as "anti-business."