Jeb undercut GOP during 2012 tax fight: Norquist

Norquist: Jeb undercut GOP on taxes in 2012

Antitax crusader Grover Norquist criticized Jeb Bush on Monday for breaking rank with Republicans during the 2012 tax debate that precipitated the fiscal cliff showdown.

Norquist cited the former Florida governor's statement that year that he would accept a budget deal that offered $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases.

"Jeb Bush, in the middle of the debate in '12 when we were trying to stop a tax increase by Obama, he announced, uninvited — I don't know what he was doing as former governor — 'Oh, I'd raise taxes as part of a budget deal,'" Norquist told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

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"The Republicans in the House and the Senate, we united that that was never, ever going to happen, and this butt-insky comes in and kicks them in the back of the shins."

In fact, Bush made that comment while testifying before a House Budget Committee hearing on free enterprise, which included a discussion of tax and spending policy.

Jeb Bush: Find a Dem for cutting spending $10, I'll give em a warm kiss

Asked about those hearing comments during CNBC's Republican presidential debate last month, Bush said the deal he said he would support did not get done. Instead, he insisted President Barack Obama secured a "massive tax increase" without any spending cuts.

The deal reached allowed tax rates for the wealthy to rise and let a financial crisis-era payroll tax cut to expire.

Pressed about whether he would still accept a 10-to-1 deal, Bush said he would talk to lawmakers who made such a proposal, but suggested it would be difficult to find one.

"You find a Democrat that's for cutting ... spending $10, I'll give them a warm kiss," said Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

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Bush is one of the few Republican presidential contenders who has not signed Norquist's American Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which commits politicians to oppose any tax increases.

Despite singling out Bush, Norquist said all of the 2016 GOP presidential candidates' tax plans are "remarkably similar." He said they would reduce the corporate income tax dramatically, bring down personal rates and make savings tax free.

"While there are differences between them, the key issue is all the Republicans are exactly on the same page," he said.