The Swiss bank account returns

The Obama campaign plays up one of the most prominent markers of Romney’s top-1 percent lifestyle

Topics: War Room,

The Swiss bank account returns

President Obama’s campaign unveiled its fifth television spot this morning, and the most surprising thing about it is that it took this long for the president’s team to play the Swiss bank account card.

The 30-second spot, which will air in the swing states of Iowa, Virginia and Ohio, is ostensibly a response to Koch-funded “independent” attack ads that claim the administration blew billions of dollars on green jobs efforts. But it’s really the start of what figures to be a relentless over-the-air campaign to connect Romney’s own top-1 percent lifestyle with the policy priorities of his party.

It takes about 10 seconds for the Obama ad to pivot from green jobs into a series of bullet points on Romney and outsourcing, ending with the line: “It’s just what you’d expect from a guy who had a Swiss bank account.”

The Swiss bank account came to light back in late January, when Romney – after being booed for his stonewalling at a Republican debate – very reluctantly released some of his tax records. The documents were rife with the markings of a top-1 percent man: $45 million in income in 2010 and 2011, an effective tax rate of 14 percent, extensive offshore holdings, and the Swiss account, which was apparently closed just before Romney embarked on his 2012 campaign. The tax records are complemented by a seemingly endless parade of Romney “wealth gaffes” – unscripted moments in which the candidate conformed to the stereotype of an out-of-touch plutocrat.



Playing up Romney’s wealth is not without risk, with Romney countering that the strategy reeks of “class warfare” and amounts to a gratuitous attack on “job creators.” The challenge for Obama is to make it clear that he’s not trying to stoke resentment of Romney’s wealth and success, but rather that Romney represents a super-affluent elite that has been shielded from the economic downturn and that Republicans are intent on protecting with their policies. From Obama’s standpoint, this is the great potential of Romney’s “top 1 percent-ness” – that it helps to drive home a point that Obama would be making about any Republican candidate running against him this year.

Steve Kornacki

Steve Kornacki writes about politics for Salon. Reach him by email at SKornacki@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @SteveKornacki

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>