Romney says he supports payroll tax cut

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Monday that he supports the extension of payroll tax cuts, a proposal President Barack Obama is championing.

In an interview on a conservative radio show, Romney said he wanted to make sure the cuts are extended because middle-class workers are “having a hard time.”

“I would like to see the payroll tax cut extended just because I know that working families are really feeling the pinch right,” Romney told conservative radio host Michael Medved.

Romney called the extensions “little Band-Aids” in October, but in a recent debate he said he wouldn’t oppose the one-year provision.

“I don’t want to raise taxes on people in the middle of a recession. Of course not,” Romney said last month when asked in a debate in Rochester, Mich., whether he would support a payroll tax cut.

Romney’s comments Monday were his first unequivocal statement of support for the measure. Democrats immediately argued that he changed his position based on public opinion.

“After belittling the middle-class tax cut the president proposed by calling it a ‘little Band-Aid,’ and saying he is ‘not looking to put money in people’s pockets ? that’s the other party,’ Mitt Romney flip-flopped and now says he’s for it,” the press secretary for the Obama campaign, Ben LaBolt, said in an email.

Earlier Monday, Obama called the payroll tax extension “the last line of defense between hardship and catastrophe” for many middle-class families. While some congressional Republicans are still reluctant to extend the tax cut, many of the disagreements center on how to pay for it.