July 9, 2012; Source: msnbc.com

We knew it had to happen sometime. Yesterday morning on Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle asked Dan Senor, a senior advisor to presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, how Romney could justify extending tax cuts to the rich. “Why do so many people who are beneficiaries of the Bush tax cuts pay at a rate of 15% or 16%, and I’m paying at a rate of 35%?” he asked.

Whereupon Senor answered, “Well, there’s a number of factors, not the least of which … ”

“My income,” interrupted barnicle.

“Yeah—but the charitable deductions,” said Senor, “So, a lot of people if they weren’t giving a lot to charity, they’d be paying much higher than the 15%—they’d pay 19%, 20%, 21%—so there’s a number of factors that go into that reduced number.”

The irascible Barnicle asked Senor if he would congratulate him for not bursting out laughing but, honestly, we are just in awe of the chutzpa.—Ruth McCambridge