Obama ad hits Romney for tax rate
October 12th, 2012
04:08 PM ET
6 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.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. tykl

    Is it wise for the Obama campaign to spend money on a video demonstrating just another example of O's failed leadership?? Probably not a wise use of their money. Chicago smoke and mirrors are getting old. We all know the difference between income tax and capital gains tax (tons of people invest money for when they retire and when they do, their capital gains taxes will be the same as for R). So O's willing misinformation about comparing income to capital gain tax makes him look like an amateur who is unaware how the real world works, but it also shows what a poor leader he is since if he has a problem with the capital gains tax rates, then he has been in a position to change them – especially in the first two years when Dems controlled everything and probably even now. So double fail. Fail one for not seeking tax reform before the campaign and fail two for spending your own money on an ad to highlight your own lack of leadership and absence of a basic grasp on taxes.

    October 12, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. California Gary

    Sounds fair.........those working stiffs should have had the good sense to be born into wealth......huh Romney? Why don't they just go out and hire a top notch tax attorney, like Romney does? They can borrow from their parents if the fee is too high. A man like Romney doesn't have time to worry about the 47% who "leech" off the government. And there you have it folks......that is the Romney mindset. Presidential material? Not hardly.

    October 12, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. Roger

    I hear that everybody talks about how much Gov. Romney has paid in charity even though his tax rate is low, so it makes him look good. I think that's great. One thing I question though. He only released tax records for 1 or 2 year and that shows he gave away a lot to charity, but at the same time he has been running for presidency during that period or more. Is it possible that he spent an extra amount in charity just to look good on paper as he must know that he had to release two years of tax records? As a matter of fact he didn't even take the deduction for charity for the last year as that would have put him below 13% rate. Everybody says that he didn't release tax records because it has some funny book keeping, but somehow I think it might show that the rate of charity wasn't that great compared to the released records. Nobody talks about it, but it just crossed my mind. I think that few million dollars of charity made a lot of good for him that no super PAC commercials could have done. He at least has a point to counter – 'Look I have paid so much in charity.'

    October 12, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. ttt

    Mitt's a cheat, if not a dupe; like most car sales men

    October 12, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    This ad intentionally deceives. Typical Obama in campaign mode. I guess desperation justifies this!?!?

    October 12, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    ""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%.""

    So they do him a favor by failing to highlight that Mittens taxes are almost entirely based on the capital gains tax rate, even though most of it is carried interest that really isn't capital gains but gets to be treated that way, and even though Mittens want to oblitgerate the capital gains tax for his own benefit, and CNN spins it as dishonest. It's fair to say at this opint that CNN has thrown their lot in with Mittens 100%. And if you think people aren't noticing this around the web, CNN, think again.

    October 12, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. yasmine

    O's campaign is Very wise..... be relentless... as relentless as the birthers...

    October 12, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Right wingnuts are so willing to hitch the future of the bagger party to the failed governor of MA. Remember 47th in job creation, $2.6 billion in additional debt, 700 new taxes, and outsourcing MA government jobs to India. Mittens left MA with an approval rating of the low 30%, and that says more about Mittens than any of his tax evasion.

    October 12, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. Al

    OBAMA 2012 !!

    October 12, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    PwC? THis s a firm with over 160,000 employees world-wide, makes makes BILLIONS every year and which falls under the Mittens/GOP/Teatroll definition of "small business" because it is all reported on just a few peoples' tax returns like an S-corporation.

    And CNN, cut the crap. You know d-mn well that the information released was carefully selected to avoid giving ALL the information available via the actual tax returns and that it was specifically done that way to prevent anyone from answering the questions that still linger, such as how Mittens managed to amass a $100M IRA despite the limitations on deductions for them. The narrative you want to sell, that suddenly everyone changed their tune and started attackgni only the rate that Mittens pays IS ENTIRELY FABRICATED. We are still demanding his actual tax returns because of the woefully insufficient information he released as his smokescreen.

    October 12, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Ronda in Houston,TX

    Good for the Obama campaign to bring this up and for not letting it die. Romney asked Paul Ryan for 10 years of tax returns, but he refuses to do the same for the American People. Romney supplies the John McCain campaign with 10 years of tax returns upon being vetted for possible VP for 2008. I don't trust anyone trying to become POTUS who doesn't show his/her tax returns. What is he hiding?

    October 12, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. tykl

    @ Wire Palladin, S.F. – you need to get over yourself and try and base some of your life in facts or you are going to go crazy. Romney was not a failed governor – just look at the facts of what the MA debt was when he entered and where it was when he left as he worked with an 87% dem legislature. And why don't you enlighten us on how they calculate MA being the 47th in job growth. Do you know what is considered a "0% unemployment rate"?? It is around 4% because you can't measure lower than that due to sampling and job transitivity. So MA basically had a 0% unemployment rate when Romney was governor and so where were all the jobs suppose to go that you elude he should have created – they already had jobs. Welcome to reality – it is quite different from the slime and lies of 100's of millions of dollars by the O campaign. Also, I was in England when Governor Patrick (current MA gov) came through on a trade/business strengthening campaign after having been in Israel doing the same thing. So is he involved in outsourcing as well? Are you an isolationist? I can introduce you to a few similar-minded believers....from the 1700's.

    October 12, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. Yonni

    Romney has build his wealth from the demise of the middle class people; his did was legal but immoral. He has raked so many families in this nation and now he wanted to be their president?

    October 12, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Observer

    What a sham of a news website. CNN is like Orwell's vision of Big Brother. Control the media, control what get's said and brainwash the minions accordingly. What a sad day for Americans when CNN and its articles and yappy reporters are considered newsworthy.

    CNN in bed with Romney. . .clear as day. . .people are noticing around the web. . .

    October 12, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Phil

    If its so Unfair Obama, you had 4 years to raise the Capital Gains tax for all wealthy americans. God knows you had the house handed to you on a silver platter the first 2 years of office. Shouldve done something about it. You are such a career and Political Opportunist. Only doing things when it serves you good. Stop with your petty scare tactics and finger pointing. You might be able to fool the ignorant and Obama groupies that will believe every word you say. But America for the most part is smarter than that. You had 4 years to keep your promises and you failed! You don't deserve the Whitehouse and America deserves BETTER THAN YOU!

    October 12, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. wolfpackbob

    It is The Economy, Mr. President. Your Economy, Mr. President. You built that, and that's no malarky

    October 12, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |


    You hit it right on. CNN is in Willard's pocket. All the more reason why I don't want Candy Crowley moderating the Presidential Debate. As far as Willard's taxes rate goes, it's bad enough he's duping the tax code, but it's even worse that he has his money in those foreign tax havens and in his children's and wife's name so it won't get taxed.

    October 12, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  18. Phil

    Capital gains tax is already taxed up to 40% and then on top of that the individual is taxed up to 14%. So the total percentage taxed is anywheres between 45-60%. Stop your misleading Obama! Tell the Truth for once. And Obama groupies quit taking speeches as facts and do some investigating of your own. How ignorant can people get!

    October 12, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |

    Union Bank of Switzerland(UBS)

    Tell them about the AMNESTY CNN!!! 4000+ Americans who had their money in UBS & were exposed by UBS were offered amnesty from criminal prosecution for tax evasion if they closed their Swiss Account, recalculated and paid all back taxes and paid a 25 percent penalty on the largest amount. Willard paid his back in time. Where is the responsible journalism?

    October 12, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. California Gary

    Most telling line of the night........Biden: "If Romney was such a great governor, why is he not even contending in that state?"........good question. It would seem the people that know him best have no interest in supporting him. How do you Tea Party types explain that one?

    October 12, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. rs

    Four and The Door-
    Actually the ad is more accurate than you know- The Atlantic just put out an article. It seems they contacted Mr. Romney's experts who suppossedly supported his tax plan- guess what? It's another lie. All six declared Romney's plan wouldn't work.

    Meanwhile- your blindness to fail to see who will benefit from a Romney Presidency is sad. If Romney wins, America (well except those 125,000 richest families) loses.

    October 12, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. tee27

    Mitt is a tax evader and everyone know it where are the returns from 1990-2010 we need to see them. looks like Reid was correct he did not pay past taxes.

    October 12, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. Rick McDaniel

    Obama's entire campaign was built on KNOWING Romney would be the opposition, and he prepared his entire war on the rich, to beat Romney.

    It is soooooo dishonest, it is incredible, and the media are mostly in the back pocket of the Democratic party, so Obama is getting away with the lies and innuendo.

    October 12, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. No Tax Returns No Vote

    I agree CNN is losing credibility and reminds me of FOX.

    October 12, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. Four and The Door

    ... If Romney wins, America (well except those 125,000 richest families) loses.
    American middle class has been losing for 3 1/2 years. That's just a fact. It's time to see some progress arrive for Main Street, instead of just Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Romney/ Ryan 2012 for the 100%.

    October 12, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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