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John Thune Jabs Potential 2012 Presidential Rivals On Tax Cut Deal (VIDEO)

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a potential 2012 presidential candidate, appeared to unofficially launch one of the first salvos in the forthcoming GOP primary on the Senate floor Tuesday, when he blasted “sideline” spectators for smearing the current tax cut deal reached last week between Obama and Republicans.

“It’s easy to stand on the sidelines and criticize this proposal,” Thune said in a speech captured by ABC News. “And it’s perhaps even politically expedient to stand on the sidelines and criticize this proposal. But let me make one thing very clear Mr. President, advocating against this tax proposal is to advocate for a tax increase.”

Thune’s comments come on the same day that potential 2012 GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney penned an op-ed in USA Today calling the tax plan a “disappointing agreement” that doesn’t extend tax cuts for the wealthy for a long enough period. A Republican-controlled House, the former Massachusetts governor argues, would be able to craft a bill that could provide for a longer-term extension of tax cuts for the rich, and perhaps reformulate the reauthorization of unemployment insurance so that it instead works to “redo jobless benefits.”

Romney took his share of conservative lumps for the editorial Tuesday, with a few bloggers seeing his opinion on the matter as purely political. Thune, for his part, doesn’t believe that now is the time for Republicans to drag their feet in waiting for a more favorable compromise to come through the political pipeline.

“If we wait for the perfect proposal, the perfect agreement, then American families and American small businesses are going to pay higher taxes just two weeks from now,” the South Dakota senator said Tuesday.

Last week, Thune responded to other conservative opponents of the plan, including another possible GOP 2012er in Sarah Palin, saying that a better deal was “not likely to happen.”

“I would prefer if we could get a permanent extension of this for all taxpayers, but right now, that Democrats have 58 votes in the Senate and about 260 votes in the Senate [House], and they have a Democrat White House. That’s not likely to happen,” Thune told Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Wednesday.

The breaking news, John Thune Jabs Potential 2012 Presidential Rivals On Tax Cut Deal (VIDEO) excerpt from Latest News on HuffPost

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