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Georgia: Chambliss and Norquist Fight Over Tax Pledge

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who faces a likely primary challenge in 2014, said last week he could abandon the Grover Norquist-backed Taxpayer Protection Pledge he signed if it meant moving the country forward.

“I care more about this country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” he told Georgia TV station WMAZ on Nov. 21. “If we do it his way, we’ll just continue in debt.”

Chambliss, who said he was against raising taxes, explained he wasn’t worried about the political ramifications of potentially bucking the pledge and crossing Norquist.

“I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do about Grover Norquist,” he said.

Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, hit back in a statement.

“Senator Chambliss promised the people of Georgia he would go to Washington and reform government rather than raise taxes to pay for bigger government. He made that commitment in writing to the people of Georgia,” he said. “If he plans to vote for higher taxes to pay for Obama-sized government he should address the people of Georgia and let them know that he plans to break his promise to them.”

In an added twist, Chambliss tweeted something of an addition to his comments on Monday: “I’m not in favor of tax increases. I’m in favor of significant tax reform 2 lower tax rates & generate additional revenue through job growth.” That tweet was retweeted by a spokesman for Norquist’s organization.

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