News Column

Romney Says Jobs Are Not Obama's Priority

July 19, 2012

By Steve Peoples


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused President Obama on Wednesday of caring more about his own job security than about creating jobs for millions of unemployed Americans.

While pressing his case against the Democrat, Romney showed no sign of caving into mounting pressure for him to release more of his tax returns.

Campaigning in Ohio, a state key to the political fates of both contenders, Romney said the president in the past six months has held more than 100 fundraisers for his re-election campaign and no meetings with his jobs council.

Romney is trying to portray Obama as out of touch with the economic pain afflicting millions of people, while shifting the focus from his personal finances.

"His priority is trying to keep his own job, and that's why he's going to lose it," Romney declared.

Having spent most of Tuesday courting donors across Texas, Obama was at the White House on Wednesday. He will head out today on a two-day campaign swing through Florida.

Democrats have pressed for the release of more of Romney's tax returns and have hounded him about discrepancies over when he left his private equity firm, Bain Capital.

"If you're going to run for president, it's not necessarily comfortable but it has become a tradition and it's an important one, you make your tax returns available because you think the American people deserve that kind of transparency," Obama spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, took a rare step into the presidential race Wednesday, saying Obama's criticism of Romney's career and taxes are meant to distract from the administration's handling of the economy.

Boehner said Obama's questions are an "attack on the private sector" and show he "doesn't give a damn about middle-class Americans who are out there looking for work."

Boehner also warned those, including fellow Republicans who increasingly are calling on Romney to make more of his past tax returns public.

"The American people are asking, 'Where are the jobs?' " Boehner said. "They're not asking where the hell the tax returns are. It's not about tax returns. It's about the economy."

After being on his heels for several days over taxes and his Bain record, Romney launched an aggressive counterattack this week, punctuated by biting speeches, conference calls and a TV ad Wednesday accusing Obama of "crony capitalism." The ad says Obama sent stimulus money to "friends, donors, campaign supporters and special interest groups" and charges that taxpayer dollars went to projects in Finland and China.

The attacks marked a substantial escalation for the often-reserved Romney, who has struggled to answer questions about his business career and personal tax returns. Romney who would be among the nation's wealthiest presidents if elected, so far has released just one year of personal income tax returns and promised to release a second.

That's a stark deviation from a tradition created in part by his father, George Romney, released 12 years of his returns during his 1968 presidential campaign.

Several prominent Republicans have joined Democrats in pushing Romney to release more tax returns.

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who features prominently in speculation about Romney's choice for a running mate, vigorously defended Romney's limited tax release.

"There is no claim or no credible indication that he's done anything wrong," Pawlenty said Wednesday on CBS This Morning.

Pawlenty accused Obama's campaign of "hanging shiny objects before the public and the press, and the press is taking the bait."

Source: Copyright USA TODAY 2012

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