Rebutting the Obama campaign’s new efforts to highlight Mitt Romney’s foreign assets, the Romney campaign condemned such attacks as “false and ridiculous” and a distraction from the economy.
Democrats have been working hard to highlight a recent report in Vanity Fair that questions why Romney owned a Bermuda-based company for over 15 years and suggests that without further disclosure it may be impossible to tell the asset’s value or intended purpose.
“Oh, what a contrast, my friends, between these two men who would be president!” Obama campaign co-chair Ted Strickland said in Ohio on Thursday. “President Obama is betting on America and American workers, and Mitt Romney is betting his resources in the Cayman Islands, in Bermuda, in Switzerland and God only knows where else he is putting his resources.”
The new attacks comes on the heels of an editorial in the conservative Wall Street Journal complaining that Romney looked weak rebutting attacks on his “rich guy” image. Particularly galling for conservatives is that these issues were raised extensively during the primaries as well, yet the campaign still hasn’t settled on a consistent response.
Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, dismissed the latest attacks from Strickland and others as an example of hypocrisy from Obama.
“President Obama once said, ‘If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things,’” Saul said. “Now it’s President Obama who doesn’t have a record to run on, so he and his campaign have resorted to false and ridiculous attacks. His policies have failed to fix the economy and create jobs for the middle class. Mitt Romney has the record and plan to create jobs and turn around the economy.”
The Romney campaign has taken some halting steps to push back against the Obama campaign’s message regarding Bain Capital. Those attacks also sought to portray Romney as a wealthy investor who profited from sending American jobs abroad. There has yet to be a major ad campaign or a tightly coordinated message from top surrogates despite polling evidence that Obama is gaining ground with his Bain message in swing states, the Washington Post noted Thursday. And, as the Obama campaign noted on Thursday, their latest statement doesn’t actually identify what part of Strickland’s claims were false.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.