Bob Turner, the Republican candidate in the NY-9 special election, is under fire from Democrats for telling an audience in a debate Tuesday night that he “never met a loophole I didn’t like.” But according to Turner, the real problem is that people can’t take a joke.
Turner’s loophole quote came in response to a question asking him to name one tax break he’d eliminate. “As a Republican, I never met a loophole I didn’t like,” he said. “I really don’t know.”
His rival, Democrat David Weprin, put out a statement on Wednesday condemning his comments.“Voters were reminded last night just how radical and out of touch Bob Turner is when Turner went to the mat for multinational corporations that don’t pay a penny in taxes while Brooklyn and Queens small businesses pay more than their fair share,” Weprin said. “Bob Turner is heavily invested in companies like GE who are making billions in profits but are paying nothing in taxes while shipping American jobs overseas thanks to the tax loopholes Bob Turner loves so much. Bob Turner’s radical views are costing tens of thousands of American jobs and costing the taxpayers millions of dollars.”
Turner’s camp says Weprin misinterpreted his remarks, which spokesman Bill O’Reilly told TPM were “definitely in jest.” Pressed to name a loophole Turner favors closing, O’Reilly replied that the candidate is against subsidies for ethanol.
“Mr. Weprin doesn’t seem to understand debate levity,” Turner said in a statement. “But here’s a serious point: career politicians like David Weprin have made a mess of our tax code to accommodate special interests. The ones who lose are ordinary taxpayers who can’t afford lobbyists. Ordinary taxpayers don’t get enough tax loopholes. We get Mr. Weprin’s bills.”
Here’s a video of the relevant exchange in the debate.