Obama campaign: Romney fundraising news meant to ‘distract’ from personal finances

Olivier Knox
The Ticket

President Barack Obama's reelection campaign charged late Thursday that Mitt Romney hoped to use word of his eye-popping $100-million June fundraising haul as, essentially, a staggeringly expensive and carefully orchestrated smokescreen. The remarkable total, if confirmed, was sure to fan the flames of fears, frequently and publicly expressed by team Obama, that Romney will out-raise him.

But Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said Romney's leaked total aimed to "distract" voters from a pair of news reports about the Republican's personal finances and renewed focus on his health care plan after the Supreme Court upheld "Obamacare."

"Mitt Romney is trying to distract from a week when he took contradictory positions on the freeloader penalty in the Affordable Care Act and we learned more about his offshore finances in Switzerland, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands," LaBolt said in an email statement.The Obama and Romney camps have struggled to respond to the Supreme Court's ruling that the fine, imposed on Americans who do not buy health care, is a tax — a provision in both of their health care overhauls. Obama aides have insisted it is a penalty. Romney's camp initially agreed, but Romney himself later said it was a tax when imposed at the federal level but not at the state level.

LaBolt was also referring to news reports in Vanity Fair and by the Associated Press regarding Romney's offshore holdings. The Obama campaign has frequently used the former Massachusetts governor's personal finances to paint him as out of touch with struggling Americans.

"Americans are less concerned about how much money he raised to get himself elected and more interested in what he would do after repealing health reform, which he has refused to share, and why he won't disclose the necessary tax returns that prove whether or not he paid any U.S. taxes on his shell corporation in Bermuda," LaBolt said.

Politico's Mike Allen first reported the total, which includes contributions to both Romney's campaign and the Romney Victory Fund — a joint account between the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee.