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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Obama promotes ‘Buffett Rule’ among wealthy endorsers

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama plugged his plan to increase taxes on millionaires yet again Wednesday morning, but this time with a new twist – appearing alongside rich people who support the signature tenet.

The proposal would require that people earning $1 million a year or more pay at least the same tax rate as middle-class families. Obama calls it the “Buffett rule” after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has famously complained that he pays a lower rate than does his secretary.

To help make the point, the endorsers showed up with their assistants. Appearing on stage with Obama were Abigail Disney, president of the Daphne Foundation, and her assistant, Celine Justice. Whitney Tilson, managing partner of T2 Partners LLC, appeared with her assistant, Kelli Alires; Google retiree Frank Jernigan joined with his assistant, Teresa Gardiner; and Lawrence Benenson, of Benenson Capital, appeared with his assistant, Carmen Peterson.

None of those millionaires has told him they’re excited about paying more taxes, Obama said.

But “they agree with Warren,” he said. “This should be fixed.”

The measure is highly unlikely to pass the divided Congress this election year. But the message was live on network television Wednesday morning, same as Tuesday, giving the president’s “tax fairness” message the kind of exposure that money can’t buy.