Republicans Point to Tax Cuts, Dems Mention 'Tax Fairness'

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

( - "Republicans will win, and I will run for speaker," House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) told talk-radio host Sean Hannity on Sunday.

Hastert said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi expects to assume the top job in a Democratic sweep of the House. But he said when Americans focus on what the election is really about, they won't give Pelosi and her fellow Democrats a chance to raise taxes.

"Working with Nancy, it's been all politics all of the time," Hastert told Hannity. "She turned off and said, 'No, we are not going to help you, not going to work with you.' Two weeks ago she made a decision [that] the only way to get their message out was to trash the president and trash the Republicans. They (Democrats) have done nothing in Congress, they have no ideas we are the ones that have gotten everything done," Hastert said.

Hastert admitted that Republicans may lose seats next week, when voters finally go to the polls.

But he said the election will be decided "district by district," and he suggested that Republican wins or losses will depend on how well Republicans explain to constituents "what they have been able to accomplish, and how we made a better life for America in this country and how we kept this country safe from terrorists in the last five years. Nobody talks about that."

In another pre-election push over the weekend, Hastert pointed to the "thriving economy" as a good reason to re-elect Republicans.

"Americans of all financial backgrounds are benefiting from the economic policies set forth by House Republicans," Hastert said in a news release on Saturday.

"Today, all Americans are taking more home in their paychecks. Families are provided with greater affordability through the increase of the child tax credit and decrease in marriage tax penalty. Additionally, there are fewer Americans earning the minimum wage now than ever in the past."

Hastert warned that Democrats, led by Pelosi, would let the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts expire.

"This would effectively raise taxes on every American who pays an income tax, and many more who don't. It will also raise taxes on married couples and families with children. Furthermore, it will impede the nation's overall economic growth," Hastert said.

"Should Leader Pelosi and her Democrat colleagues take control of Congress, the pocketbooks of Americans at all levels can expect to be adversely impacted," he warned.

'Middle class tax fairness

Democrats are not talking about tax hikes, however. "We want middle class tax fairness for the American people," Democrat National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation."

"I think we will pay for that (middle class tax fairness) by making sure that those big oil companies who just reported record profits are going to pay their fair share, because they haven't been doing it under the Republicans," Dean said.

"We want middle class Americans to benefit from this economy, not just the folks that are contributing to the president."

Dems can only 'pressure' Bush

Dean also said Republicans have failed the nation when it comes to defense:

"Iran is about to get nuclear weapons, North Korea has exploded a bomb...Osama Bin Laden is still at large, and we're in the middle of...a civil war in Iraq. Explain to me how the Republicans have made us safer," Dean said.

"We need to be tough and smart, not just try to scare people at election time with tough talk," he added.

Dean noted that regardless of whether Democrats retake the House or Senate in next week's elections, President Bush will still control foreign policy and the military - "so the influence of a Democratic Congress will be, I think, a positive influence but I don't imagine that we're suddenly going to force the president to reverse his course."

However, Dean said Democrats will "pressure" President Bush to "have some benchmarks, some timetables, and a real plan other than 'stay the course.'" Dean said Democrats believes that benchmarks and timetables will force the Iraqis to reach a political settlement.

But the Bush administration timetables for a U.S. troop withdrawal will simply the enemy know when they can declare victory.

Dean said Democrats believe that when U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq, the U.S. will "need to leave a force of Special Operations folks in the Middle East...on the periphery of Iraq so that we can deal with terrorism in a timely manner."

"We don't believe now that we can suddenly pull everybody out," Dean said.

"We would like to bring as many people home as possible as fast as possible, but most of the Democrats that I know believe that we are going to have to leave a Special Operations force in the Middle East in order to deal with the terrorist situation."

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