Jim is right that raising taxes is generally politically riskier than not raising them, but President Obama faces a unique problem on this front. Even if Obama signs a temporary extension of the Bush-era tax rates, he still will have raised taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars to finance the national health care law, and many of those tax hikes will hit those with incomes under $250,000. That will give the GOP plenty of ammo to portray him as a tax hiker. So in a sense, Obama is facing the worst of both worlds. Liberals will see him as violating his pledge to let the Bush tax cuts lapse on higher incomes, while Republicans will still be able to run against him for violating his pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class.
UPDATE: Also, I'd add that he can't exactly run on the fact that he extended the Bush tax cuts while if he's also going to be telling liberal audiences that he'll really let them expire if they reelect him.
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