* Democrats attack Romney over offshore assets
* Obama campaign calls for Romney to release tax records
* Romney campaign denounces "character assault"
By Tabassum Zakaria
WASHINGTON, July 8 President Barack Obama's
campaign and top Democrats on Sunday called on Mitt Romney to
release more personal tax records and raised questions about his
offshore assets that the Republican challenger's campaign
condemned as an "unseemly and disgusting" character assault.
Democrats and Republicans tussled over the economy, but it
was Romney's offshore assets that Democrats seized on during the
Sunday talk shows in their quest to portray him as a wealthy man
out of touch with ordinary Americans. Romney faces Obama in the
Nov. 6 election and polls indicate a close race.
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman
Schultz raised the issue on "Fox News Sunday" as her interview
time ran out.
"I'd really like to see Mitt Romney release more than one
year of tax records, because there's been disturbing reports
recently that he's got a Bermuda corporation, a secretive
Bermuda corporation that no one knows anything about,
investments in the Caymans, kind of Swiss bank account."
"Americans need to ask themselves why does an American
businessman need a Swiss bank account and secretive investments
like that?" Schultz said.
Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs, on CNN's "State of the
Union," called on Romney to release years of back tax records to
allow scrutiny of his adherence to tax law. Asked whether Romney
had broken the law, Gibbs said, "Well, we don't know."
"The one thing he could do ... to clear up whether or not
he's done anything illegal - whether he's shielding his income
from taxes in Bermuda or Switzerland - is to do what every other
presidential candidate's done, and that's to release a series of
years of their own tax returns," Gibbs said.
"This is a guy whose slogan is: 'Believe in America' - and
it should be 'Business in Bermuda.' That's what Mitt Romney's
all about," Gibbs said.
Romney's campaign fought back.
"The Obama campaign's latest unfounded character assault on
Mitt Romney is unseemly and disgusting," said Andrea Saul, a
Romney campaign spokeswoman.
The Associated Press has reported that an offshore company
based in Bermuda has helped bolster Romney's wealth even though
it did not appear on his state or federal financial reports for
The Obama campaign released an online video on Sunday
raising questions about Romney's offshore accounts. "Mitt Romney
could be the first president in history to stash millions
offshore so the American people deserve an explanation as to why
he chose to invest in other countries known as tax havens rather
than the United States," the campaign said in a statement.
Saul defended the Republican presidential challenger,
saying, "Mitt Romney had a successful career in the private
sector, pays every dime of taxes he owes, has given generously
to charitable organizations, and served numerous causes greater
"Barack Obama has become what he once ran against - a
typical politician willing to use false and dishonest attacks to
save his job after failing to do his job," Saul said.
Romney, a multi-millionaire former private equity executive,
is one of the richest men ever to run for U.S. president. He has
an estimated net worth of up to $250 million.
Romney has released his 2010 returns and estimates for 2011
but has been reluctant to release more. In April, he requested
an extension to file his 2011 tax forms while estimating his tax
liability at $3.2 million for last year.
Four months before the presidential election, Democrats are
seeking to portray Romney as out of touch with the plight of
Americans in a struggling economy, while Republicans point to
Obama's policies as inadequate for strong economic growth.
The latest data point in the political battle over which
candidate is better for the U.S. economy was the June U.S.
employment report on Friday that showed non-farm payrolls grew
by 80,000 jobs and the unemployment rate stayed at 8.2 percent.
Republicans said it showed Obama's policies were not
invigorating the economy, while Democrats said it pointed to
movement in the right direction.
"Clearly what they're doing is not working," Senate
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN's "State of the
Union" program. He called Obama's job creation record
"People are unhappy with the economy. They know that Mitt
Romney is a job creator," McConnell said.
Gibbs said the employment report showed that the economy was
growing. "We've made progress, but we've got a long way to go."
Asked about the Obama campaign trying to define Romney as an
outsourcer of jobs in a new ad, Republican National Committee
Chairman Reince Priebus responded: "The only job that we need to
make sure we outsource in this country is Barack Obama's job."
He said on "Fox News Sunday" that "Barack Obama hasn't done
anything in regard to what he promised he would do and making
sure that we have a level playing field with China. He's in the
sand box with China every day. He hasn't stood up to China."