The Obama campaign Tuesday launches a tough new hit on Mitt Romney's record on jobs and his personal wealth, raising for the first time in paid advertising the fact that the Republican had assets in a Swiss bank account.
The ad buy, which a campaign aide called "significant," is at the same time an offensive maneuver meant to try and shape how the public views the now-presumptive GOP presidential nominee and a defensive one, reacting to another multimillion-dollar television campaign from a leading outside group.
The Obama 30-second ad opens by branding a spot from Americans for Prosperity critical of the administration's energy initiatives as "over the top," "erroneous" and "out of context." The conservative-backed group had claimed that billions of dollars in stimulus funds actually created jobs overseas.
"President Obama’s clean energy initiatives have helped create jobs for projects across America, not overseas," the Obama ad charges back. "What about Mitt Romney? As a corporate CEO, he shipped American jobs to places like Mexico and China. As governor, he outsourced state jobs to a call center in India. He’s still pushing tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas."
Then comes the hammer.
"It’s just what you expect from a guy who had a Swiss Bank account," the narrator says.
In February, Romney amended his personal financial disclosure statement to reflect income from a now-shuttered Swiss bank account and one other investment fund he had originally failed to report on the ethics form. The account in the Swiss bank UBS, which held $3 million when it was closed in 2010, earned about $1,700 in interest.
The president's reelection team has made the Swiss bank account charge an important part of its effort to brand Romney as out of touch with Americans who've struggled in a flagging economy. That's run parallel to a White House campaign to pass the so-called "Buffett Rule," to ensure millionaires paid at least 30% of their income in taxes.
The Romney campaign has in the past criticized the Democratic operations for trying to create "sideshows to distract people from what really matters."
Matea Gold contributed to this report.