Jeb To Grover: Read My Lips, No New Tax Pledge!

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will not commit to sign a pledge to not raise taxes if he decides to run for president in 2016, according to a spokeswoman.

The refusal to commit comes a day after Americans for Tax Reform chief Grover Norquist told ABC News that he expected Bush will eventually sign on to his famous “pledge.”

But Bush aide Kristy Campbell put an end to that speculation in a statement to Reuters on Saturday.

“If Governor Bush decides to move forward, he will not sign any pledges circulated by lobbying groups,” Campbell said. “His record on tax cuts is clear. He didn’t raise taxes.”

During his gubernatorial stint, from 1999 to 2007, Bush refused to sign the pledge. And according to ABC News, he spoke out against the pledge as recently as 2012.

An infamous public pledge made by Bush’s father during his successful 1988 presidential campaign run is perhaps at the heart of his son’s refusal to sign on to Norquist’s program.

At the 1988 Republican National Convention, George H.W. Bush infamously said “read my lips, no new taxes.” But a recession forced Bush to renege on that promise when he agreed to the 1990 budget which raised taxes. That concession likely hurt his chances of re-election in 1992.

In his interview with ABC before the Bush camp’s statement, Norquist said that he thought Bush would eventually be “comfortable” with signing the pledge. He also said he had been in talks with Bush aides about the prospect of committing to the pledge.

But Norquist bristled at the news that Bush was rebuffing the pledge.



Norquist’s final comment on the matter was an analogy using cats.


With such outspoken opposition against Norquists’s pledge, Bush is solidifying his already staunch position as the field’s resident moderate. Bush also differs greatly from most of his potential competitors on the issue of immigration. Bush has said he supports a path to citizenship for immigrants.

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