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Sen. Inhofe: Obama has an ‘obsession’ with tax hikes

Speaking Tuesday to "Fox and Friends," Inhofe was asked why the public has been more receptive to the Obama administration’s desire to extend tax rates for the middle class but raise taxes on the wealthiest to help pay for deficit reduction.

“Maybe we’re not as persuasive as Obama is,” Inhofe said. “Perhaps, but in this case — so long as we let people know; that’s what I’m doing right now. This obsession the president has for tax increases is something we’ve got to get around, and Republicans are going to turn into Democrats if we don’t.”

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President Obama is launching a public drive this week to gain support for his economic-policy proposals ahead of talks with lawmakers on a deficit-reduction package. The president will meet with small-business owners from across the country, host an event at the White House with “middle-class Americans” and visit a business in Montgomery County, Pa.

The outreach is part of the administration’s continued effort to pressure congressional Republicans to raise tax rates as part of a solution to address the "fiscal cliff." Economists warn the looming tax hikes and spending cuts could push the economy back into recession, and the White House and lawmakers hope to reach a deficit-reduction accord ahead of January, when the measures go into effect.

Inhofe, though, vowed not to be swayed by public opinion on the matter.

“I represent Oklahoma, and he hasn’t won up there," he said of Obama. "He’s a very persuasive person; that doesn’t mean that as a member of the United States Senate that you have to look at public opinion and say that he’s going to win this thing. Again, I’ve got 20 kids and grandkids depending on me to reverse this thing, and I’m going to do it.”

Inhofe argued that the best way to increase federal revenues was through marginal tax rate reductions, which he says have a history of spurring economic growth.

“For every 1 percent increase in the economic activity, that produces $40 billion of new revenue; we’ve got to get that through their heads,” he said.