NORTH ADAMS -- Having won his own campaign, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, affirmed plans to hit the trail hard in support of others before November during a visit to the county Tuesday.
According to members of his staff, the longtime 2nd District representative and soon-to-be 1st District representative will be recruited to campaign in support of President Barack Obama, likely to hit battleground states such as Wisconsin, Ohio or Pennsylvania next month.
Honing his aim on that debate, Neal first weighed in on comments from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that featured heavily in the national discussion Tuesday.
Romney's comments, recorded in a video that made rounds on the Internet this week, saw him claim 47 percent of Americans are supporters of the president and "pay no income tax," "are dependent upon government" and "believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it."
Neal, a ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee and a member of the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures -- and someone who's butted heads with Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan over tax policy in the past -- called the assertion "simply not true."
"[The comment] misses the point of how onerous the payroll tax is for working people," Neal said.
Neal also pointed out that most of the country's working poor pay effective tax rates at or near 20 percent when
The congressman also criticized Romney's proposal of a 20 percent income tax cut on top of the Bush tax cuts, saying "[Republicans] are making the argument to go back to [the policies] that got us into [the recession]" and that "you can't find a mainstream economist that says tax cuts pay for themselves." Neal also criticized Romney's proposal to cut the corporate tax rate.
Neal also said he likes the chances of Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren in her race against incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown in November. He said polls that proved accurate during his own campaign are beginning to swing in her favor, while also reflecting increased support of the president in the commonwealth. Neal's staff has been campaigning on-and-off for Warren.
The afternoon in the Berkshires was wrapped up at a fundraising event Neal attended to show support for Mayor Richard Alcombright.
Neal is no stranger to campaigning for fellow Democrats, having "cut his teeth" during George McGovern's 1972 presidential run, later serving as a delegate for Sen. Edward Kennedy, running campaigns for Kennedy in 1980 and after.
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