By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff
John McCain and Mitt Romney have dueling ads on the Internet -- both of which recall the famous "Windsurfing" spot the Bush camp ran against John F. Kerry in 2004. Both make the charge that the other is a flip-flopper on the red-meat Republican issue of tax cuts.
Romney was first out of the gate, with a web-only ad poking fun at McCain's votes against the $1.35 trillion tax cut President Bush proposed in 2001 and a similar plan Bush proposed in 2003.
The ad shows the Arizona senator saying in an interview with Fox News on Thursday that, "I've always been for tax cuts. I have always, although I voted against the first tax cuts." The clip is set to the Blue Danube Waltz, which was also used in the 2004 windsurfing spot that hit Kerry for his shifting positions on the Iraq war.
The spot, titled "Waltz," concludes with the text: "John McCain. Always for tax cuts. Except when he's against them."
McCain was one of two Republican senators to vote against the tax cuts – votes he said me made because the cuts were not accompanied by cuts in spending. He now says he supports extending the tax cuts.
With two hours after Romney's spot launched Thursday night, McCain’s camp responded with a similar web-only ad titled "Mittsurfing." It plays the same waltz and shows Romney's head spliced onto a windsurfer as it criticizes his position on tax cuts.
The announcer says, "Mitt Romney says he's a leader, but how do we know which direction he wants to lead? Mitt Romney seems to change positions like the wind. He tells Florida he supports the Bush tax cuts. But as Massachusetts Governor, Romney refused to take a position on the Bush tax cuts and then increased taxes by $700 million, but tried to call them fees.' Where does Mitt Romney stand? Whichever way the wind blows."
When he was governor of Massachusetts and asked about the tax cuts in April 2003, Romney did say in interview with the Globe that he "won't be a cheerleader" for bills he did not agree with. "But I have to keep a solid relationship with the White House,” Romney said at the time.
Under Romney, Massachusetts also hiked fees by about $700 million, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, although the Romney camp has said some of the fees were approved before Romney became governor.