The battle for the hearts and votes of fiscally conservative New Hampshire/>/> voters is underway. Romney strikes with attacks that Rudy sued to invalidate the line item veto (the Supreme Court eventually agreed) and opposed repealing a commuter tax in New York/>/>. Team Rudy has responded. Putting out Paul Cellucci was one step. They also have put out a statement from Communications Director Katie Levinson: "“There is one Republican candidate in the race with a track record of cutting taxes 23 times and that is Rudy Giuliani. No amount of political spin can help Mitt Romney re-write the history books. Mitt Romney failed to pass a single tax cut as Governor and the Cato Institute gave him a ‘C’ for his handling of the economy as Governor. Mitt Romney can repackage himself as many times as he wants but his failing fiscal record speaks for itself.” That is part of a longer press release which details Rudy's contention that the New York City/> economy grew faster and gained more jobs under his tenure than Massachusetts/>/>' did under Romney, that Rudy cut spending while Romney increased it and that Rudy actually cut taxes while Romney did not. They contend that Rudy decreased the overall tax burden by 17% while Massachusetts citizens' tax burden increased by 10.75% (Rudy's campaign also alleges that Romney in fact raised taxes on out of state residents by changing the definition of what income was subject to state tax for a total of $16M in projected increased revenue. James and other Mass./>/> tax gurus can weigh in on that one.)
As to Romney's specific charges Rudy has long argued that his opposition was based on his "strict constructionist" reading of the Constitution and that he does support a Constitutional amendment to permit the line item veto. On the commuter tax as best as I can figure it out (Phil?) the state legislature abolished it making Rudy's task in significantly decreasing other
New York City/>/> taxes more difficult so he didn't like it. However, overall I don't think there is much argument about the litany of tax decreases and reductions Rudy got through which did lower the tax burden on New York/>/> residents and businesses.
To the extent that you don't agree with Mike Huckabee that Club for Growth is "Club for Greed" their White Papers and commentary are very helpful. While the report on Rudy verges on ecstatic Romney's is more subdued but he is credited with holding the line on spending and curbing the excesses of the Massachusetts/>/> legislature.
All this makes one point clear: Romney needed to get back to economic issues and fast to make his case with New Hampshire/>/> voters. Many of these folks are refugees from New Hampshire/> and New York/>/> so they seem ideally suited to figure out who has the better case.
UPDATE: A recap of Romney's attack today is here.