comScore
Video

Obama Campaign Whacks Romney Over Tax Returns And The 47%

President Obama‘s reelection campaign has bundled together two of the worst things from Mitt Romney‘s worst week ever (so far), his hidden camera remarks blasting 47% of Americans who “pay no  income tax” as “dependent” on government because they see themselves as “victims,” and his decision to dump his 2011 tax returns on Friday night. The Obama campaign’s new ad, which will run in Ohio, points out Romney’s 14.1% effective tax rate, his exotic offshore holdings, and his refusal to release more than two years of returns, and concludes, “Maybe instead of attacking others on taxes…Romney should come clean on his.”


The ad makes efficient hay of Romney’s recent woes, summing them up in a mere thirty seconds, and distinguishes itself from the Romney campaign’s ads by only leaving out context that would have actually made Romney look worse. As Chris Hayes pointed out on his show Saturday, the self-serving 20-year “summary” Romney released on Friday includes six years during which capital gains were taxed at 30%, inflating the 20.2% average that his accountants reported. Additionally, Romney deliberately declined to report all of his charitable donations, in order to achieve a higher tax rate (the still-very-low 14.1%), a trick that brought his effective tax rate up from an even more embarrassing 9%. From Romney trustee and personal attorney Brad Malt:

The Romneys’ generous charitable donations in 2011 would have significantly reduced their tax obligation for the year. The Romneys thus limited their deduction of charitable contributions to conform to the Governor’s statement in August, based upon the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13% in income taxes in each of the last 10 years.

If there’s anything to quibble with in this ad, it’s the annoying Democratic tendency to present only the most palatable examples of those affected by political debates. This ad says “Mitt Romney attacked 47% of Americans who pay no income tax– including veterans, elderly, the disabled,” as if it’s okay to attack everyone else (forgivable here because it’s only a 30-second spot), but they do this all the time. When the debate is about access to contraception, they always talk about women who need the Pill for other medical reasons. What about women who just want to be able to have sex without completely altering their lives (like men do)? Isn’t that a constituency we can all get behind?

When the issue is Medicaid, all we hear about are senior citizens and children. So, we should just let a younger man die because his 50 hour-a-week job doesn’t pay him enough to afford health insurance for him and his family? Come to think of it, what about the guy who doesn’t even have a job? That should be an offense punishable by death?

I understand the impulse to present the most moving examples possible, but these arguments would be more effective, in the long run, if they were defended in more broad moral terms.

Here’s the Obama campaign’s accompanying memo and script:

Obama for America Releases New Television Ad: “No Taxes”

 

CHICAGO—Obama for America released a new television advertisement titled “No Taxes” to welcome Mitt Romney to Ohio this week.

Mitt Romney may have callously written off 47 percent of Americans, but President Obama knows that Romney was wrong to accuse tens of millions of Americans of not paying their fair share. The overwhelming majority of these Americans are workers, seniors, students, and people with disabilities, and they pay a significant share of their income in taxes, including social security and Medicare taxes and state and local taxes. These Americans shouldn’t be put down; they should be respected for working hard and contributing to their communities.

Instead of accusing hardworking Americans of failing to pay their fair share, Mitt Romney should come clean with the American people. With just two years of returns on the table, Mitt Romney falls far behind longstanding precedent – failing to match other Presidential candidates.

“No Taxes” will air in Ohio.

 

Please click HERE to watch the new ad.

 

TITLE “No Taxes”
MEDIA TV 0:30
DATE 9/24/12
AD BACK-UP
VO: 

Mitt Romney attacked 47% of Americans who pay no income tax– including veterans, elderly, the disabled.

 

Visual:

Romney video in background.

Overlay three portraits.

Headline: “Mitt Romney Trashes the 47 percent”

Washington Post, 9/17/12

 

ROMNEY ATTACKED THE 47 PERCENT OF AMERICANS WHO PAY NO INCOME TAX – INCLUDING VETERANS, ELDERLY, AND THE DISABLED

Headline: “Mitt Romney Trashes The 47 Percent”[Capehart, Washington Post, 9/17/12]

 

New York Times Editorial: By Romney’s Definition, Those Dependent On Government Include “Include Workers In Low-Paying, Menial Jobs,” “Elderly Americans,” And “Disabled Veterans.” “Gone was the pretense that he will be a president of all Americans. Mr. Romney rather neatly divided the country between the people who matter and the 47 percent he does not care about. To Mr. Romney, that 47 percent consists of people who do not make enough money to be required to pay federal income tax. They are freeloaders, he said, ‘who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.’ It is not his job, he said, as a candidate nor apparently as president if he is elected, ‘to worry about those people.’ By his definition, those undeserving freeloaders include workers in low-paying, menial jobs (sometimes more than one job) who don’t even earn enough to owe federal income tax. Also included are elderly Americans whose Social Security pensions are too low to be taxed, disabled veterans and people who were maimed on the job.” [Editorial, New York Times, 9/18/12]

 

2011: Nearly 20 Million Seniors Did Not Pay Federal Income Taxes. According to the Tax Policy Center, 19,845,000 elderly tax units paid no individual income tax in 2011. [Tax Policy Center, Table T11-0176, Distribution of Elderly Tax Units that Pay No Individual Income Tax,7/13/11]

 

  • ·         2011: 56% Of Seniors Did Not Pay Federal Income Taxes. According to the Tax Policy Center, 19,845,000 elderly tax units paid no individual income tax in 2011, which was 55.9% of all elderly tax units. [Tax Policy Center, Table T11-0176, Distribution of Elderly Tax Units that Pay No Individual Income Tax,7/13/11]

 

2011: 61% Of Households Who Didn’t Pay Federal Income Taxes Were Workers Who Pay Payroll Taxes.[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Misconceptions And Realities About Who Pays Taxes, p. 8, 9/17/12]

 

2011: 22% Of Households Who Didn’t Pay Federal Income Taxes Were Elderly. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Misconceptions And Realities About Who Pays Taxes, p. 8, 9/17/12]

 

2011: 12% Of Households Who Didn’t Pay Federal Income Taxes Included Students, People With Disabilities, And The Unemployed. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Misconceptions And Realities About Who Pays Taxes, p. 8, 9/17/12]

 

VO: 

Mitt Romney: “My job is not to worry about those people”

 

Visual:

Romney video

“My job is not to worry about those people” – Mitt Romney –

 

ROMNEY SAID HIS JOB ISN’T TO WORRY ABOUT 47 PERCENT OF AMERICA

Romney: “Forty-Seven Percent Of Americans Pay No Income Tax. So Our Message Of Low Taxes Doesn’t Connect. So He’ll Be Out There Talking About Tax Cuts For The Rich. I Mean, That’s What They Sell Every Four Years. And So My Job Is Is Not To Worry About Those People. I’ll Never Convince Them They Should Take Personal Responsibility And Care For Their Lives.” [Romney, Fundraiser Video; Capehart, Washington Post, 9/17/12]

 

VO: 

Doesn’t the President have to worry about everyone?

 

Visual:

Isn’t it the President’s job to worry about everyone?

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA: “IF YOU WANT TO BE PRESIDENT, YOU HAVE TO WORK FOR EVERYONE”

 

President Obama On The Late Show With David Letterman: “My Expectation Is That If You Want To Be President, You Have To Work For Everyone, Not Just For Some.” [CBS News, 9/18/12]

 

VO: 

Mitt Romney paid just 14.1% in taxes last year

 

Visual:

Romney video

Mitt Romney

Paid just 14.1% in taxes last year

Boston Globe, 9/21/12

 

ROMNEY PAID 14.1% IN TAXES IN 2011

Romney’s 2011 Tax Returns Show That His 14.1% Effective Tax Rate Is “Far Lower Than The Rate Most Americans Pay.” “Romney’s updated tax returns, which will be posted online in full at 3 p.m. on Friday, show that he paid $1.9 million in taxes on $13.7 million in income, most of which came from his investments. It means his effective tax rate for 2011 was 14.1 percent, which is slightly higher than it was in 2010 but still far lower than the rate most Americans pay.” [Boston Globe, 9/21/12]

 

VO: 

He keeps millions in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

 

Visual:

Romney video/Scene of Cayman Islands

Mitt Romney

Millions in Bermuda & Cayman Islands

Vanity Fair, 8/2012

 

ROMNEY HAS MILLIONS IN CAYMAN HOLDINGS AND HIS IRA’S CAYMAN HOLDINGS ARE LIKELY AVOIDING A U.S. BUSINESS TAX

Vanity Fair: Bain Capital “Has At Least 138 Funds Organized In The Cayman Islands, And Romney Himself Has Personal Interests In At Least 12, Worth As Much As $30 Million, Hidden Behind Controversial Confidentiality Disclaimers.” “The firm today has at least 138 funds organized in the Cayman Islands, and Romney himself has personal interests in at least 12, worth as much as $30 million, hidden behind controversial confidentiality disclaimers. Again, the Romney campaign insists he saves no tax by using them, but there is no way to check this.”  [Vanity Fair, 8/2012]

 

ABC News: “Although It Is Not Apparent On His Financial Disclosure Form, Mitt Romney Has Millions Of Dollars Of His Personal Wealth In Investment Funds Set Up In The Cayman Islands, A Notorious Caribbean Tax Haven.” [ABC News, 1/18/12]

 

Romney Campaign: Romneys’ Investments In Bain Capital Funds Established In The Cayman Islands “Are Not Tax Havens And It Is False To Say So.”“Spokeswoman Andrea Saul also said: ‘ABC is flat wrong. The Romneys’ investments in funds established in the Cayman Islands are taxed in the very same way they would be if those funds were established in the United States. These are not tax havens and it is false to say so.’” [Associated Press, 1/18/12]

 

  • ·         Romney Campaign’s Denial “May Be Wrong Or Misleading,” Tax Experts Say Romney’s IRA Is Likely Avoiding The “Unrelated Business Income Tax.” “But the campaign’s assertions may be wrong or misleading. Tax experts said some of the offshore holdings are likely intended to help Mr. Romney avoid paying an obscure but hefty tax of as much as 35% on some of those investments, held in a tax-deferred retirement account. […] tax experts said that had Mr. Romney’s IRA invested in Bain funds in the U.S., he would likely have been forced to pay an obscure levy called the “unrelated business income tax,” also known as UBIT.” [Washington Wire, Wall Street Journal,1/19/12]

 

ROMNEY’S BERMUDA CORPORATION COULD BE DEFERRING TAXES DUE TO ITS LEGAL OFFSHORE STATUS

 

Romney Held A Bermuda Corporation, Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors, Ltd. “To give but one example, there is a Bermuda-based entity called Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd., which has been described in securities filings as ‘a Bermuda corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.’ It could be that Sankaty is an old vehicle with little importance, but Romney appears to have treated it rather carefully. He set it up in 1997, then transferred it to his wife’s newly created blind trust on January 1, 2003, the day before he was inaugurated as Massachusetts’s governor. ” [Vanity Fair, 8/2012]

 

The Bermuda-Based Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd. Was Among Several Romney Holdings Not Listed On Any Of Romney’s State Or Federal Financial Reports. “Based in Bermuda, Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd. was not listed on any of Romney’s state or federal financial reports. The company is among several Romney holdings that have not been fully disclosed, including one that recently posted a $1.9 million earning — suggesting he could be wealthier than the nearly $250 million estimated by his campaign.” [Associated Press, 7/4/12]

 

  • ·         Associated Press: “Romney’s Limited Disclosures Deprive The Public Of An Accurate Depiction Of His Wealth And A Clear Understanding Of How His Assets Are Handled And Taxed.” “But Romney’s limited disclosures deprive the public of an accurate depiction of his wealth and a clear understanding of how his assets are handled and taxed, according to experts in private equity, tax and campaign finance law. [Associated Press, 7/4/12]

 

Tax Analysts Said The Legal Offshore Status Of Romney’s Bermuda Corporation Could Be Used To Defer Taxes. “Even though Sankaty is no longer used for Bain investments, several tax analysts said its legal offshore status still could be used by Romney to defer some taxes on some of the ‘carried interest’ income related to the Bain deals.” [Associated Press, 7/4/12]

 

VO: 

He won’t release his tax returns before 2010.

 

Visual:

Romney Video/IRS Form 1040

Mitt Romney

Refuses to release tax returns before 2010

Associated Press, 7/14/12

 

ROMNEY WON’T RELEASE HIS TAX RETURNS BEFORE 2010

Romney Has Said He Won’t Release Any Tax Returns Prior To 2010. “Romney has said he won’t go beyond releasing his 2010 tax records and, before the November election, his 2011 taxes.” [Associated Press, 7/14/12]

 

VO: 

Maybe instead of attacking others on taxes…

Romney should come clean on his.

 

Visual:

Romney Video. Overlay three portraits

Maybe instead of attacking others on taxes.

He should come clean on his

 

VO:

I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message.

 

Visual:

Approved by Barack Obama.  Paid for by Obama for President.

 

Have a tip we should know? tips@mediaite.com

  1. Mediaite
  2. The Mary Sue
  3. RunwayRiot
  4. LawNewz
  5. Gossip Cop