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INTERNATIONAL NEWS
July 09, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Top Democrats launched a coordinated assault Sunday on Mitt Romney's use of offshore tax havens, demanding that he release more tax returns in order to explain himself to the American people.

The Republican presidential hopeful's wealth, estimated to be around $250 million, has repeatedly emerged as an issue during the campaign as President Barack Obama tries to paint him as out of touch with ordinary Americans.

His tax rate has been a particular bone of contention as the country struggles to emerge from a tough recession and Obama has launched a volley of blistering ads in crucial swing states.

Many of those ads have targeted Romney's time at the helm of Bain Capital, accusing him of shipping American jobs overseas and specializing in breaking up companies for profit.

A Vanity Fair report less than a week ago has shifted the focus back onto Romney's millions tucked away in Switzerland and in offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

Obama aides and senior Democrats took to the Sunday morning talk shows en masse to criticize Romney on the issue, hoping to reframe the campaign after a week in which more damaging jobs numbers had hurt the president's chances.

Senior Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs delivered one of the pithiest barbs on CNN's "State of the Union," saying: "This is a guy whose slogan is 'believe in America' when it should be 'business in Bermuda.'"

Over on "Fox News Sunday," Democratic Party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz just managed to squeeze in her attack, saying: "Americans need to ask themselves, why does an American businessman need a Swiss bank account and secretive investments like that?"

After attacks echoed by Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, senior Senator Dick Durbin and several campaign aides, Wasserman Schultz and Gibbs both demanded that Romney release years of tax returns.

The Romney campaign hit back, saying, "The Obama campaign's latest unfounded character assault on Mitt Romney is unseemly and disgusting."

"Mitt Romney had a successful career in the private sector, pays every dime of taxes he owes, has given generously to charitable organizations, and served numerous causes greater than himself," the statement said.

"Barack Obama has become what he once ran against -- a typical politician willing to use false and dishonest attacks to save his job after failing to do his job. The American people expected more from this president, and he continues to let them down."

AFP

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