NBC's O'Donnell uncritically aired McCain's misleading claim that Clinton and Obama are "going to raise your taxes by thousands of dollars a year"

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

In a report on Sen. John McCain's economic speech, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell aired a clip of McCain saying of Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama: "They're going to raise your taxes by thousands of dollars a year." However, O'Donnell did not note that Clinton and Obama have proposed tax cuts for middle- and low-income Americans.

On the April 15 edition of NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams, NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell reported on Sen. John McCain's economic speech earlier that day and reported that in his speech, "McCain claim[ed] Democrats will cost you more." O'Donnell then uncritically aired a clip of McCain stating of Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama: "They're going to raise your taxes by thousands of dollars a year, and they have the audacity to hope you don't mind." But O'Donnell did not report that Clinton and Obama propose tax cuts for middle- and low-income Americans, contrary to McCain's suggestion that the two Democratic presidential candidates intend to raise taxes on everyone.

In fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, McCain's claim that Clinton and Obama are "going to raise your taxes by thousands of dollars per year -- and they have the audacity to hope you don't mind," is misleading, as both Clinton and Obama have, in fact, proposed tax cuts for the poor and the middle class. As The New York Times noted, Obama has proposed "at least $80 billion a year in tax cuts to middle-class workers, homeowners and retirees." Clinton's campaign website says that she would "[l]ower taxes for middle class families by: extending the middle class tax cuts including child tax credit and marriage penalty relief, offering new tax cuts for healthcare, college and retirement, and expanding the EITC [earned income tax credit] and the child care tax credit."

Both Clinton and Obama have expressed support for rolling back the Bush tax cuts on those making more than $250,000. In a March 27 interview (subscription required) with The Wall Street Journal, Clinton noted that she supports "letting the [Bush] tax cuts expire for those making over $250,000." During the June 3, 2007, Democratic presidential debate, Obama stated: "I would roll back the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000."

From the April 15 edition of NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams:

O'DONNELL: McCain's core idea: lower taxes and make up lost revenue with cuts in government spending. But critics and some economists argue McCain's math is wrong, that his plan would tilt toward the wealthy, swell the deficit, and not trim enough.

Beyond numbers: plain old politics. McCain claims Democrats will cost you more, and he tried to play off the title of Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope.

McCAIN: They're going to raise your taxes by thousands of dollars a year, and they have the audacity to hope you don't mind.

O'DONNELL: McCain saved some of his heat for his own party, accusing Republicans of wasteful spending and the president of failing to stop that with vetoes, while in a new ad McCain ran for the middle.

Posted In
Economy, Taxes
Network/Outlet
NBC
Person
Kelly O'Donnell
Show/Publication
NBC Nightly News
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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