And They’re Off: First Ads of the General Election


Swiss Bank Account: It’s just what you’d expect from a guy who had a Swiss bank account.

Today, Newt Gingrich officially suspended his campaign leaving the field clear for the two presumptive nominees Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to focus all of their attention on each other, and that they did!

The Obama camp preempted any potential Gingrich endorsement with a biting web video entitled “Newt Gingrich: Frankly, not Mitt Romney’s Biggest Supporter” (see below). Yesterday, they release a video celebrating the anniversary Osama bin Laden’s death. Now they have a video celebrating the fact that GM is still alive.

The Obama campaign responded to a salvo from the Romney campaign with their first TV commercial of the season. The ad entitled “Swiss Bank Account” is being shown in Virginia, Ohio and Iowa. The campaign also released an infographic to go along with that highlighting Mitt Romney’s assets secreted around the globe.

Mitt Romney has invested his money around the world, from the Cayman Islands to Ireland to Australia. We don’t know if he’s using these accounts to avoid paying his fair share in taxes, but we do know that in 2010, Romney’s tax rate was a startlingly low 13.9%. This means Romney pays a lower tax rate than many teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other middle-class Americans-even a lower rate than most other millionaires.

Infographic and web video follow the jump.

Mitt Direction: Even Kerry Can’t Save Romney Now

On CNBC, Mitt Romney claimed a precedent for only revealing two years of tax returns  

Larry Kudlow: Why not release your tax returns? Why not go back 10 years?

Gov. Mitt Romney: Well, we’ve had people run for president before, and they’ve released two years. John Kerry released two years of taxes…  I’ve released one already, put the estimate out for the next year. We’ll have two years of taxes.

Actually, Kerry is no precedent. When Sen. John Kerry began his Presidential Campaign early in 2003, he followed the example of Romney’s father and made public 20 years of tax returns. Now, here are with the Republican primary all but over, and Romney is still hoping to appease his critics with two years of tax returns. As Mitt’s father Gov. George Romney said: “one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.”

Why is he going to such great lengths to conceal his tax records? We already know he pays an effective Federal tax rate of 14.8% (compared to around 25% for most Americans) and just 0.1% for Social Security and Medicare (compared to 7.65% for most Americans). We already know Romney has accounts in Switzerland, Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands which are notorious tax havens.

What else does Mitt have to hide?