‘NYT’ Sunday Preview: Norquist Defends McCain on Tax Cut Switcheroo

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By: Greg Mitchell

While the cover story on Chris Matthews has already drawn attention to this coming Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, a Q & A with tax-cut guru Grover G. Norquist should not be overlooked.

Norquist reveals that he is now working with John McCain, despite once mocking him, and in return McCain “reciprocates by sending at least one person to each of our Center-Right meetings.”

Norquist now admits that calling McCain a “gun-grabbing, tax-increasing Bolshevik” was “an overstatement.” At the same 2005 College Republicans gathering he referred to McCain as “the nut-job from Arizona.”

Ask why McCain once opposed Bush tax cuts but now favors making them permanent, Norquist explains, “He was unhappy about losing the presidential nomination in 2000. He was very mad at Bush. He was mad at me, too.”

When Deborah Solomon asks, “You’re saying he [McCain] opposed the tax cuts out of spite?” Norquist replies, “Out of understandable pique.”

Norquist also argues that the Iraq war has not hurt the economy and that his mother was the town tax assessor in Weston, Mass.

After the 2005 “nut job” comment, Mark Salter, a senior adviser for McCain, issued a statement that said, “John McCain hasn’t spent five seconds in his entire life thinking about Grover Norquist. He’s not going to start now.”
Greg Mitchell’s new book is “So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits — and the President — Failed on Iraq.”

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