President Barack Obama said Monday that Mitt Romney should disclose more of his personal financial information. Obama's appeal, delivered in an interview with New Hampshire's WMUR, came after weeks of Democratic attacks on the Republican standard-bearer for parking money overseas, including in a Swiss bank account.
"What's important, if you are running for president, is that the American people know who you are what you've done and that you're an open book," Obama said. "And that's been true of every presidential candidate dating back to Mr. Romney's father."
George Romney, a top executive at American Motors and former governor of Michigan, set the modern standard for presidential candidates when he released 12 years of tax returns during his bid for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination. Mitt Romney has released information from one year — and Democrats have been hammering the former Massachusetts governor, darkly suggesting that he has something to hide. Critics have seized on Romney's Swiss bank account — now closed — and on funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.
Republicans have countered that the focus on Romney's personal finances is an attempt to distract voters from the fitful economic recovery three years after Obama took office vowing to fix it. "With the failures of his presidency becoming more evident by the day, Barack Obama has resorted to the tactics of a typical politician," Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said by email.
"Rather than talk about the issues important to Americans in their everyday lives, he has chosen instead to run a campaign based on character attacks and dishonesty," Williams said. "That is all he has left to run on."
The Democratic attacks serve to remind voters of Romney's vast wealth — and Obama supporters have used the GOP candidate's money to suggest that he is out of touch with the average American. But there is no evidence that Romney did anything illegal.
"He offshores most of his own personal investments, presumably to shield them from taxes," top Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs told CNN on Sunday.
"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."