The American Prospect
April 9, 2012
Senator Dick Durbin goes after the potential presidential candidate’s Swiss bank account while Obama campaign manager demands further tax return disclosures.
The Democrats are putting all their emphasis on touting the Buffett Rule ahead of a Senate vote for next week to coincide with Tax Day. The push is ostensibly an effort to twist the arm of a few of the more moderate Republicans—say the two Maine Senators or running for reelection in Democratic territory Scott Brown—under the hope that they’ll fear public backlash if they vote down the measure, a policy favored by over half of the country. However even if they peel off a few Republicans there is little hope that the bill would make any progress in the GOP-controlled House. Instead, as a conference call hosted by the Obama campaign Monday afternoon made clear, the push is an effort to focus attention on Mitt Romney’s wealth as a viability as the Republican nomination contest begins to come to a conclusion.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Wisconsin Representative Tammy Baldwin joined Obama campaign manager Jim Messina on the call. Messina used most of his time talking with the reporters to attack Romney’s refusal to release his tax returns beyond the past two years. “Why is it ok to give John McCain 23 years and the American public only two? It doesn’t make sense, he can’t justify it, and he should release it,” Messina said, referring to the records Romney provided to McCain in 2008 while he was being vetted as a possible VP candidate.
“Romney is the beneficiary of a broken tax system and he wants to keep it that way,” Messina said, hinting at Romney’s 13.9 percent rate for his 2010 taxes. “He wants a system in which firefighters, cops, teachers and middle class Americans all pay a higher tax rate than he does. We think that’s wrong.”