With a peg to the upcoming legislative push for the "Buffett rule" adjustment of tax rates for the very wealthy, the message of the day from President Obama's Chicago-based re-election campaign was this: "Mitt Romney is the beneficiary of a broken tax system, and he wants to keep it that way."
Those were the words of campaign manager Jim Messina, who joined Sen. Dick Durbin and Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin in a conference call to talk about what they dub economic "fairness" in the tax system.
According to Durbin, who hammered Romney on his reported past holdings in overseas banks, fairness is a foreign concept to a candidate who benefited from a "Swiss bank account."
Durbin said of the semi-presumptive GOP that it is "impossible for him to explain or defend" the overseas account, paraphrasing Buffett Rule-envisoner Warren Buffett himself in saying "there are plenty of good banks in the United States."
Participants were pointed in naming examples of Romney's personal wealth (Messina invoked the famed car-elevator in plans for the former governor's La Jolla, CA home), saying that Romney's tax structure "looks out for people just like him."
Another example: Romney's limiting of his tax return disclosure to just two years -- 21 fewer than the number of years worth of documents he reportedly disclosed to the McCain campaign when being vetted for the VP slot four years ago.
"Romney supports tax policies that reward people like him, and now he's just trying to obscure just how much he would benefit by hiding his own financial records," Messina said.
But the campaign demurred when asked by a reporter if Obama would agree to release as many years of records as the 23 it's demanding of his rival, saying only that Romney must live up to the standard set by his own 2008 vetting process.
Obama has released tax records dating back to 2000.
The Romney camp released this statement before today's Obama campaign conference call: “President Obama is the first president in history to openly campaign for re-election on a platform of higher taxes. He has already raised taxes on millions of Americans, but he won’t stop there. He wants to raise taxes on millions more by taxing small businesses and job creators. We appreciate the Obama campaign reinforcing Mitt Romney’s platform of lowering tax rates across the board in order to jumpstart this bad Obama economy.”