9:50 am Jul. 9, 2012
Across the Sunday morning political shows, surrogates for President Obama renewed their attack on Mitt Romney's offshore investments, after a Vanity Fair article this week delved into the details of Romney's finances, followed by an Associated Press story that detailed a previously undisclosed Bermuda company controlled by Romney.
One after another, Democrats pivoted—with varying degrees of artfulness—from questions about Obama's economic record and the latest lackluster jobs report to Romney and his finances.
"Let me tell you, Bob, there's a third issue looming here and it's all about a lighthouse off Nantucket called Sankaty," said Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, referencing the Bermuda company that was transferred to Ann Romney's control one day before her husband was sworn in as governor.
Durbin laid out rather plainly the Democratic talking points on the issue.
"If you read the Vanity Fair piece and the Associated Press piece we understand the following: Mitt Romney has failed to make an economic disclosure that every president and candidate for president has made in the last thirty-six years goes back to his father, who disclosed twelve years of tax returns, he's disclosed one," Durbin continued. "Secondly, he is the first and only candidate for president of the United States with a Swiss bank account with tax shelters, with tax avoidance schemes that involve so many foreign countries. And the third is that when it comes down to his Swiss bank account, there is just no way to explain it."
The Swiss bank account was a recurring theme.
"I've never known of a Swiss bank account to build an American bridge, a Swiss bank account to create American jobs, or Swiss bank accounts to rebuild the levees to protect the people of New Orleans," said Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on "Face the Nation."
"I don't know about you, I pick a bank because there is an ATM near my home, right? Mitt Romney has a bank account in Switzerland," said Robert Gibbs, the former White House press secretary who is now a top adviser to the campaign, on CNN's "State of the Union."
Gibbs put it in a soundbite.
"This is a guy whose slogan is believe in America, and it should be business in Bermuda, that is what Mitt Romney is all about," he said.
And the chair of the Democratic National Committee barely got it in under the wire on Fox News Sunday.
"Americans need to ask themselves why does an American businessman need a Swiss bank account and secretive investments like that?" said Debbie Wasserman Schultz, squeezing it in before the end of her segment. "Just something, a thought, that I'd like to leave folks with."
Republicans, somehow, seemed a little unprepared for the all-out assault.
Former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, who appeared opposite Durbin, pointed to Romney's philanthropy.
"Senator Durbin makes him sound like he's dishonest," Barbour. "Well the fact of the matter is this is a guy who has a spectacular career and record, enormously generous, has given away millions and millions of dollars."
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal just ignored the question.
"Look, the bottom line is, I'm thrilled that Mitt Romney has been successful in the private sector," said Jindal, who also called it a "distraction" orchestrated by the Obama campaign.
(Politico: "Jindal struggles on Swiss bank question.")
A spokesperson for Romney was more aggressive than the surrogates, calling the allegations "unseemly and disgusting.