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September 17, 2014

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Daskas plays it safe

Robert Daskas, the former Clark County prosecutor making a bid to challenge Republican Rep. Jon Porter, used a press conference this morning to try out a line of attack that many Democratic upstarts are likely to recycle this year: linking the incumbent to President Bush.

The event, ostensibly about tax reform on the eve of tax day, drew about two dozen supporters to the painters and allied trades' union hall in Henderson.

Daskas uttered "George Bush and Jon Porter" several times in a short speech, saying that Porter's support of the president's policies has benefited big corporations (Halliburton was also mentioned several times) and special interests at the expense of Nevada families.

"The priorities in Washington, D.C. are simply wrong," Daskas said.

Daskas said the values of fairness and justice that guided his actions as a homicide prosecutor would guide his approach toward tax policy. He said he supports repealing tax subsides for oil and gas companies and would shift those credits to renewable energy investments -- a popular Democratic talking point, especially in Nevada. Also, he said he supports repealing tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas -- another popular Democratic talking point.

Among Daskas' proposed tax reforms: expanding the child and dependent care tax credit, extending the college tuition tax deduction, providing a homeownership tax deduction, preserving the state and local sales tax deduction, fixing the alternative minimum tax, allowing military families to include their combat pay as earned income, and offering tax credits for small businesses that provide health insurance.

"I know a good deal from a Halliburton deal," Daskas said.

Taking questions afterward, Daskas said he supports an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq in a "safe and responsible" manner, but without announcing a timeline. The troop surge, while successful militarily, has failed to achieve the goal of political reconciliation, he said.

Asked if he would have have voted to authorize force in Iraq in 2002, Daskas demurred, saying, "It's easy for me to sit here and play Monday morning quarterback."

As for Iran, he said he would not take military action off the table but noted that option was "down on the list."

And then, Daskas seized on Porter's apparent shifting to the center: "If he's reelected, which Jon Porter do I get? The one that votes with the administration half of the time or the one who votes with theadministration 90 percent of the time? If he's politically safe, we'll get the old Jon Porter."

On the Bush tax cuts, Daskas said he supports letting the cuts expire for those making $1.5 million or more. That was the average income of "small business owners" benefiting from the top-rate reduction in 2004, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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