Romney Identifies Tax Cuts at Private Fund-raising Event

US Repulican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses the Newspaper Association of America in Washington, DC, April 4, 2012.
Overheard in Palm Beach. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP

Mitt Romney spoke to deep-pocketed supporters at a private estate in Palm Beach, Florida, on Sunday night, and from a public sidewalk outside, reporters were able to overhear specifics on tax deductions he would use to offset the 20 percent income tax cut he's proposed for all taxpayers. At least publicly, Romney has to this point discussed his plan only in general terms. "I'm going to probably eliminate for high-income people the second-home mortgage deduction," Romney reportedly told the crowd in a backyard. "By virtue of doing that, we'll get the same tax revenue, but we'll have lower rates. The nice thing about lower rates is that small businesses get to keep a larger share of what they're earning and plow it back in to hire more people and expand their business."

According to The Wall Street Journal, Romney also said he would likely eliminate the state income tax deduction and state property tax deduction.

In addition, the presumptive Republican nominee said he would seek to make cuts in the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"I'm going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them," Romney said. "Some eliminate, but I'm probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go. Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I'm not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we've got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states."

"The Department of Education: I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller. I'm not going to get rid of it entirely," Romney told supporters.

Which isn't terribly surprising, but he's yet to say it publicly.

What is kind of surprising is an apparent Ann Romney comment, capping off the "war on women" debate. Both MSNBC and the Journal have reported that Ann Romney said, "It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it."

Notice has been served to people still shopping for an Ann Romney birthday present: just ridicule her child-rearing abilities and/or her decision to stay at home. Don't even send a card.