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."
Durbin went a step further, questioning why Romney keeps some of his money in a Swiss bank account. "It is impossible for him to explain or defend owning a Swiss bank account," Durbin said. "I asked Warren Buffett at a meeting we had recently, 'have you ever had a Swiss bank account?' He said, 'No, there are plenty of good banks in the United States.' I started asking people 'why do you have a Swiss bank account?' There are two reasonable explanations. Number one: you believe the Swiss Frank is a stronger currency than the United States dollar, and that apparently is the decision the Romney family made during the Bush presidency. And secondly, you want to conceal it, you want to hide something." Durbin didn't quite accuse Romney of impropriety, but the implication was clear that the Senate Majority Whip believes the Republican presidential candidate is hiding information that could damage his political campaigns.
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