Influential antitax lobbyist Grover Norquist said Monday that President Obama won reelection by painting GOP nominee Mitt Romney as a “poopy-head” and that Democrats should not interpret his victory as a mandate for higher taxes.
"We just had an election: The House of Representatives was elected, committed to keeping taxes low. The president was elected on the basis that he was not Romney and that Romney was a poopy-head and you should vote against Romney," Norquist said on CBS's "This Morning."
Norquist said that Romney’s team had failed to push back hard against negative campaign ads. "You saw those ads that suggested Romney gave people cancer in Ohio for months and months unanswered. You can trash an individual and get people to vote against him," he said.
Norquist, like many Republicans, rejected the idea that the results of the election — which left President Obama in the White House and Democrats controlling the Senate — equaled a mandate for the Democratic agenda.
With the “fiscal cliff” of expiring lower-tax rates and automatic spending cuts looming at the end of the year, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) last week indicated he is willing to "accept new revenue, under the right conditions" as part of a bipartisan agreement to cut the deficit.
Boehner also made clear that "new revenue via tax reform" would only be accepted if it is "linked to responsible entitlement reform and spending cuts."
Norquist is the head of Americans for Tax Reform, an organization that hosts a pledge signed by the majority of Republicans in Congress promising not to increase marginal income tax rates or eliminate deductions without a corresponding tax-rate reduction.
On Monday, he said he expected lawmakers to honor their pledge in upcoming talks to secure a deficit-cutting deal. "The pledge is to the American people, not to me," Norquist emphasized in interviews on CBS and CNN on Monday morning.
Democrats often vilify Norquist, accusing him of using the pledge to pressure Republicans and blocking efforts to reach a compromise on the nation’s fiscal problems.
Norquist said he has heard nothing from Boehner so far indicating the Speaker might break the pledge he signed.
"What Speaker Boehner said before the election is we're not raising marginal tax rates; what he said in his presentation is we're not raising marginal tax rates," Norquist said on CBS. "He is in favor of more revenue from economic growth; I certainly agree with him on that."
Although on CNN's "Starting Point" Norquist refused to say whether he would rather see Republicans accept new tax revenue or go over the fiscal cliff, he downplayed the idea that the fiscal cliff presented a larger problem than the country has faced in the past.
"There’s a compromise to be made. Maybe we don’t get as much in spending restraint as the Republicans want, but raising taxes ... a little bit doesn’t solve the problem of the massive spending problem that we have," he said on CNN. “The problem is too much spending. The problem is not that the 'peasants' aren’t sending enough money into Washington.”