Looks like someone knocked themselves out of the running as a vice presidential candidate after daring to challenge King Grover this week: Norquist: Jeb Bush Insulted Mitt Romney By Abandoning Anti-Tax Pledge:
Grover Norquist lashed out at former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) on Friday, the latest Republican to buck the conservative leader’s anti-tax pledge.
During an appearance on CNN’s the Situation Room, a visibly frustrated Norquist — president of Americans for Tax Reform — said that Bush “kind of stepped in it a little bit” when he told the House Budget Committee that signing Norquist’s pledge to never raise taxes is tantamount to “outsourc[ing] your principles and convictions to people.” Norquist claimed that Bush had insulted Mitt Romney by abandoning the pledge:
NORQUIST: [Bush] went on to kind of insult Governor Romney because Governor Romney has made a written commitment to the American people said, ‘when I get to Washington I’m not going to raise taxes. The problem is too much spending and we’ll reform government and we’re not going raise taxes, so when i go and see a problem in Washington like Obama’s overspending, I’m not going to raise taxes, I’m going to reduce spending.’ And unfortunately what Jeb Bush said was that that was outsourcing his principles.
As Think Progress noted, Bush is not the only Republican to finally break with Norquist and his no tax pledge of late. Now if we could get Wolf Blitzer to challenge him on his assertions that Democrats are the ones responsible for busting the budget or that you could call anything the Republicans are trying to do "reform." They broke the bank with two unfunded wars and an unpaid for prescription drug plan and tax giveaways to the rich and now they're using the deficit as an excuse to destroy our social safety nets which they've wanted to do for decades anyway. Heaven forbid the likes of Blitzer and his ilk will ever point any of that out to him.
Bush has brushed aside any notion he was interested in a spot on the presidential ticket a while ago. If there was any doubt that he was not going to be Romney's running mate, I'd say this probably sealed it for him. God knows we can't have any Republicans failing to pay proper homage to their dear leader who came up with his tax pledge in the seventh grade.
Full transcript below the fold.
BLITZER: Let's talk about that with Grover Norquist. He's the president of the group, Americans for Tax Reform. He's joining us right now. His new book, by the way, is called "Debacle: Obama's War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now To Regain Our Future." What do you think of what the former Florida governor named Jeb Bush had to say today, Grover?
GROVER NORQUIST, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: He kind of stepped in it a little bit. Before he did that, he actually said something useful and that when he was asked what if we could get rid of some deductions and credits, and he said that would be fine as long as you cut tax rates dollar for dollar, so it's not a tax increase. Now, that is almost verbatim, the tax player protection pledge, but then, he went on to kind of insult Governor Romney because Governor Romney has made a written commitment to the American people and said, when I get to Washington, I'm not going to raise taxes. The problem is too much spending.
We're going to reform government. We're not going to spend less. We're going to have less debt. We're not going to raise taxes. So, when I go and see a problem in Washington like Obama's overspending, I'm not going to raise taxes, I'm going to reduce spending. And unfortunately, what Jeb Bush said was that that was outsourcing his principles.
In point of fact, what Governor Romney and most Republicans have done is signed a pledge not to me. That's what Harry Reid, the head of the Democrats in the Senate likes to say, but the pledge is to the American people. It's on our website, ATR.org. Everybody can see it. It's on most candidates' websites so you can see that they made that commitment to the American people.
BLITZER: So --
NORQUIST: Jeb Bush really misspoke and insulted Romney and shouldn't have.
BLITZER: So, from your perspective, does this disqualify Jeb Bush as being Romney's running mate?
NORQUIST: No believe look Jeb Bush hasn't run for office for 10 years. He's not used to Washington politics. He should have known that the number one thing Democrats are interested in, Van Hollen (ph) is the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It doesn't like the taxpayer protection pledge because it is how Republican candidates and a couple of Democrats make a written commitment to the American people that they won't raise taxes.
It's a very powerful way to have credibility in committing not to raise taxes. It's very important that the Democrats break that because what they want is Republican fingerprints on a tax increase that would pay for Obama's bigger government rather than the Republican strategy which is to stop Obama's overspending and not raise taxes. The Ryan plan brings the budget into balance. The Republican plan that Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has put together and that the Republicans have twice now voted for in the House of Representatives that brings the budget into balance without a tax increase. We don't need a tax increase, so we need spending restraint.
BLITZER: So from your perspective, someone like -- let's say like Rob Portman (ph), the Republican senator from Ohio who has signed your pledge, would he be more acceptable as a running mate than Jeb Bush.
NORQUIST: Well Portman would certainly be a very strong vice presidential candidate. He has both taken the pledge and kept it as a congressman and a senator. He knows that pledge is to the people of Ohio. Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana has kept the pledge, taken the pledge and kept it as governor of Louisiana in very difficult, economic times.
He's had a lot of reform as a result. I think Rubio of Florida who is looking as a possible vice presidential candidate has both taken the pledge as a state legislator, as a senator and kept it. The modern Republican Party, almost all of the elected officials there have committed in writing to the American people that they're not going raise your taxes. They will reform government.
BLITZER: Grover Norquist thanks very much. I think we just heard three potential candidates that you like, Rob Portman (ph), Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio as possible vice presidential running mates. I suspect there are some other names out there as well --
NORQUIST: I don't want to get in trouble --
BLITZER: We'll leave it there for now.
NORQUIST: Yes. OK.
BLITZER: Yes, I don't think Jeb Bush necessarily is your top choice, but that's just my guess. We can discuss this a little bit more down the road. Thank you.
NORQUIST: Thank you.