Obama Expands Web Lobbying for Buffett Tax Rule

The Obama administration put a “Buffett Rule” calculator on the White House website today to pressure Congress to adopt tax law changes it said would ensure millionaires pay their “fair share.”

President Barack Obama also planned to sit for interviews with television stations from four states whose senators are being courted by White House lobbying on the bill. It was the third straight day that the president and his campaign highlighted the issue.

The Buffett rule, named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, would require a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on taxpayers with at least $2 million in adjusted gross income and impose the increase on a sliding scale on incomes between $1 million and $2 million.

Tapping the influence of the Internet, the White House website featured a “Buffett Rule Calculator” on its main page. With a few keystrokes, the average taxpayer can find out “how many millionaires pay a lower effective tax rate than you.”

Vice President Joe Biden, campaigning in Exeter, New Hampshire, said that as the April 17 income tax deadline approaches, citizens “ought to be able to know that everyone one else is paying their fair share, as well.”

“But the truth is you know they’re not,” Biden said. “The truth is when you pay those taxes you know not everyone is paying their fair share.”

Mainstream and Social Media

Obama’s interviews were scheduled with stations in Columbus, Ohio; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; St. Louis, Missouri, and Reno, Nevada. A vote in the Senate was scheduled next week.

The Chicago-based Obama campaign transmitted segments of Biden’s speech on the social-network Twitter to reach a much wider audience.

In one 20-minute period, the campaign sent six excerpts of his speech, such as “Vice President Biden: ‘The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, the ones that were intended to expire -- Governor Romney wants to extend them.’”

Romney, co-founder of Bain Capital LLC, earned $21.6 million in 2010 and paid 13.9 percent of that in income taxes, according to tax returns he released in January.

Republicans say that the rule, if passed, would amount to a tax on small business, whose owners typically file as individuals. White House spokesman Jay Carney has acknowledged that the rule faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

Obama’s push today followed an event yesterday where four millionaires joined Obama in the support for the rule and augmented remarks by the president April 10 in the swing state of Florida.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters April 9 that tax fairness will a cornerstone of the president’s re- election theme.

To contact the reporters on this story: Margaret Talev in Washington at mtalev@bloomberg.net; Roger Runningen in Washington at rrunningen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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