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Obama hits Romney tax plan anew, says Florida electoral votes a birthday wish

ORLANDO, FL – President Barack Obama on Thursday once again highlighted a study that says Mitt Romney would raise taxes on the middle class in order to cut taxes for the wealthy. Obama also dismissed claims that the study was politically motivated.

For the second day in a row, the president mentioned a study by the Tax Policy Center that concluded presumptive Republican presidential nominee Romney would have to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 in order to stay revenue neutral after implementing large tax cuts elsewhere.

“This analysis also found that if Gov. Romney wants to keep his word and pay for his plan so that he does not increase the deficit even more, the average middle class family with children would be stuck with a tax increase of more than $2,000,” Obama told a crowd of 2,400 in a gymnasium at the scenic lakeside Rollins College.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Supporters cheer President Barack Obama at a campaign event Thursday at Rollins College in Orlando, Fla.

Obama also defended the study’s independence, something the Romney campaign put in question, noting on Thursday that the report was co-written by a former member of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers.  

While Obama did not mention that co-author’s name, Adam Looney, he did note that a member of President George W. Bush’s economic team, William Gale, also worked on the report.

“First they said well this is a liberal organization despite the fact that it’s headed by an economist who worked for George Bush,” he said.

Gale is listed on the Tax Policy Center’s website as a co-director of the center. Gale, like Looney, also works at the Brookings Institution, which is affiliated with the Tax Policy Center.

“This is an organization that’s headed by an economist who worked for President Bush. All right? So this was not my opinion,” he said.

Obama also chided the Romney campaign for saying the report did not take into account the economic growth that the Republican challenger says would occur under his plan.

“Then they said that the study failed to fully take into account the massive economic boom that would come from cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations. Because we all know how well that worked out the last time we tried,” he said sarcastically.

“They have tried to sell us this trickle-down, tax-cut fairy dust before,” he continued.

 Obama got the crowd laughing at that line, but earlier they were the ones amusing him, as they broke out in an impromptu version of “Happy Birthday” to recognize the president’s 51st celebration coming up Saturday.

The president thanked the crowd, telling the audience he had a very specific birthday wish in this key battleground state. 

“If I knew you guys were going to sing, we would have had a cake. I would have blown out the candle.

“I would have made a wish. It probably would have had to do with electoral votes,” he joked.

The Obama campaign knows that in order to make that wish come true for Florida’s 29 electoral votes, it needs to do well with Hispanic voters, which might be one of the reasons the president stopped at Lechonera el Barrio, a Puerto Rican restaurant, before his speech, where he picked up several plates of meat, beans and rice and chatted with a few dozen patrons inside.

The president planned to continue a campaign-centric day with a speech in Leesburg, Va.

Related: Obama charges Romney plan would raise taxes on middle class