White House Press Secretary Jay Carney defended Warren Buffett from the criticism against the Buffett Rule levelled by Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., praising Buffett's philanthropy and defending his "right" to engage in political advocacy.
"I think Mr. Buffett, who is widely regarded for his success in business as well as in philanthropy, has been quite outspoken, as is his right, on what he believes is an issue of tax fairness," Carney said during today's press briefing. "He simply believes, as one of the wealthiest men in the world, that he should not be paying an effective tax rate lower than his secretary."
Christie said Wednesday that Buffett should "cut a check and shut up" rather than advocate a tax increase for all the wealthy.
Carney dismissed Christie's comment as a joke. "[T]hat’s a quip that tries to draw attention away from what is a very serious issue, which is the need to have a tax code that’s fair and that helps the American people as they recover from this recession," he responded when asked if he agrees with Christie's suggestion. "So, quips aside, we think the Buffett Rule is absolutely an important principle to apply to individual tax reform."