Obama ad hits Romney for tax rate
October 12th, 2012
04:08 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama ad hits Romney for tax rate

(CNN) - Mitt Romney's personal income taxes are the subject of the latest television spot from President Barack Obama's campaign, which claims in the spot released Friday that Romney's effective tax rate of 14% is unfair for a man worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The ad uses clips of Romney's interview on "60 Minutes" in September, when he was questioned about his own tax rate revealed when he released his 2011 tax return and information about his previous returns dating back two decades.

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The Obama ad splices together two questions asked by CBS anchor Scott Pelley, using Romney's answer to only one of the inquiries.

The spot shows Pelley asking, "You made on your investments personally about $20 million last year and you paid 14% in federal taxes. That's the capital gains rate. Is that fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate than you did?"

The commercial jumps ahead to Pelley asking another question: "So you think it is fair?"

Romney is shown answering, "Yeah, I think it's the right way to encourage economic growth."

What's not shown is the GOP presidential nominee's answer to Pelley's first question. He responded by acknowledging his rate was low, saying "one of the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as 35%."

A Romney campaign spokeswoman characterized the ad as "pathetic and misleading."

The question of Romney's taxes has swirled on the campaign trail for months, first as Democrats pushed the Republican candidate to release more years of returns, and then after the information was released, for paying what they said was an unfairly low rate.

Mitt Romney made $13.7 million in 2011 and paid $1.94 million in federal income taxes, giving him an effective tax rate of 14.1%.

Tax and accounting giant PriceWaterhouse Coopers, which prepared the Romneys' taxes from 1990 through 2009, issued a letter stating the couple paid 100% of the federal and state income taxes owed during those 20 years.

The firm also said their average annual effective federal tax rate was 20.2% for the period. And annually, they never paid an effective rate below 13.66%.

PwC did not detail, however, how much Romney made in income during that period or how much he paid in taxes.

CNNMoney's Jeanne Sahadi contributed to this report.


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soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    "Capital gains tax is already taxed up to 40% and then on top of that the individual is taxed up to 14%.'

    Those numbers are so completely wrong that I just had to laugh. Guess what the average effective tax rate paid by the largest corporations in America is? It's right around 9% for the top 10, and that includes a couple that get away with paying 0% due to all th epreferential deductions and loopholes they get. The reality is, there's a very big reason that Mittens carefully stated "up to 35%" and that reason is because if he talked about what corporations are really actually paying, instead of couching it in the terms of what the rate is BEFORE deductions and loopholes, he wouldn't be able to demagogue this nonsense.

    October 12, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. Joseph

    I saw the complete interview on 60 Minutes, and the only thing cut out was Mitt's hemming and hawing. The BS about in being taxed already, has nothing to do with what he pays. Even if it were true, so he's saying he actually wants you to believe he pays 50% in taxes ( 36%+14%)? YEAH RIGHT!

    October 12, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. Yonni

    If CNN want to do investigative journalism her is an idea investigate Romney’s 2009 tax where it is anyway?

    October 12, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. Four and The Door

    Obama is throwing an awful lot of money at personal attacks. But no plan for America and no answers for the stagant economy, the national debt, health care costs, medicare going broke, high unemployment, foreclosures backed up for years. Think he is avoiding actually being President?!?!

    October 12, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. rs

    Actually Four- The Middle class has been losing since Reagan, but their downhill slide really hit in 2001. WaLL Street Traders saw their wages go up by 16% last year. The American Middle Class- its still 2000 as far as salaries go.

    October 12, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  6. California Gary

    So when are one of you Tea Party folks going to explain why the state that Romney governed is solidly against him?

    October 12, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. 1twinsfan

    @tykl

    It's preposterous to say Gov. Romney worked in a bi-partisan fashion when he was governor of MA. It was over 80% Democratically held. He didn't have a choice in the matter. If the only option is A) you cannot say you were generous and chose option A).

    October 12, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. CanadaONE

    wow he wants to be the American president – when he took his money to another country to avoid paying American taxes...

    HE STABED YOU IN THE BACK!

    October 12, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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