In separate TV interviews Sunday, both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan refused to identify the tax loopholes and deductions they would eliminate in reforming the nation's tax code. The lack of specifics enables them to avoid political landmines, since each tax break has a constituency eager to protect it. But it also opens the Republican ticket to charges by Democrats and media pundits that theirs is a "secret plan" that will increase the tax burden of middle-class Americans.
"Don't voters have a right to know which loopholes you're going to go after?" ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked Ryan on This Week. The vice presidential candidate said the specifics would have to be worked out by a new administration in negotiations with Congress.
"So Mitt Romney and I, based on our experience, think the best way to do this is to show the framework, show the outlines of these plans, and then to work with Congress to do this. That's how you get things done."
"Isn't that a secret plan?" Stephanopoulos asked.
"No, no. What we don't want is a secret plan. What we don't want to do is cut some backroom deal like ObamaCare, and then hatch it to the country," Ryan said. A seven-term Republican representative from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan insisted that the time and place for discussion and debate over loopholes and deductions is next year in Congress.
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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, left, and his vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) arrive at a campaign rally, August 12, 2012 in Mooresville, N.C.: AP Images