July 15th, 2012
10:03 AM ET
10 years ago

Axelrod: Obama could have Swiss bank account if he wanted

(CNN) – Mitt Romney's accounts in offshore tax havens would have repercussions in essential governing decisions if he's elected president, a top adviser to President Barack Obama claimed Sunday.

David Axelrod said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Romney's accounts in places like Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda would cloud his decision-making on reforming the tax code, and that the current president had avoided such conflicts of interest in his own investing choices.

"We lose $100 billion a year to offshore tax shelters," Axelrod told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. "We've learned from the limited disclosure that he's made that Gov. Romney takes advantage of these. He had a Swiss bank account. He has a Bermuda holding company."

He continued, "When we go to reform the tax code, how does that inform his judgment? He's told us his business experience is the lens through which he's going to look at these decisions. We're getting a look at that experience, and people need to gauge, is that the kind of experience we want in the Oval Office?"

Obama, Axelrod said, could have taken advantage of the same loopholes that allow Romney to place his fortune in overseas accounts.

"I'm sure he could have a Swiss bank account if he wanted it," Axelrod said. "He could have a Bermuda holding company. He could put tens of millions of dollars in the Caymans. He could use loopholes in the tax law to have a $100 million IRA. The president could do those things, but he doesn't do those things. He looks at this through a different lens."

In defending himself against attacks about his offshore accounts, Romney has repeatedly pointed out that his investments are held in a blind trust, and that he has no involvement whatsoever in where and how his money is managed. He has not, however, agreed to release his tax returns beyond 2010 and 2011, despite calls from Democrats - and some Republicans - to release more.

On Sunday, Axelrod said such limited disclosure only raised more questions about Romney's financial situation.

"His father said if you release one year, it could be a fluke, it could be just for show," Axelrod said, referring to George Romney, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination ahead of the 1968 election.

Axelrod continued, "I can only conclude, with all these Republicans asking him to release these returns, that whatever is in those returns would be more damaging to his campaign than simply not releasing them."

Filed under: 2012 • David Axelrod • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Larry L

    What's Romney hiding? Where are all of the conspiracy theorists now?

    July 15, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  2. Pete

    Why doesn't Romney come forward with his foriegn accounts,investments,is he hiding something.Obviously he's scared about being shown for what he really is ,a maniacal,lying elitist that cares nothing for this country,just another project he can accomplish for bragging rights for his exclusive country club crowd.He refuses to comply with a bipartisan stance in the senate,congress to show his taxes against everything his father stood for and he's made it publicly clear he thinks the 99%ers are envious of his wealth and he likes to rub it in every chance he gets with publicly betting Santorum during the debates ,even Ann,Romneys wife chastised him on that one,that's arrogence we don't need from our commander in chief,I assure ya!!

    July 15, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  3. chuck weidemann

    Live by the business....die by the business....What can you say.....It's just business,nothing personal!!!

    July 15, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Who dominate the media win the election, past one month Romney Boxed in by Immigration, Romney care tax or penalty, Bain, Swiss Bank, Cayman Islands and Bermuda
    Good job Axelrod
    Next months school starts, we won’t spend time on politics. Today Romney surrogates are struggling send the message

    July 15, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. Gimmeabreak!

    AxelROT is SO FUNNY - Obama "could put tens of millions of dollars in the Caymans. He could use loopholes in the tax law to have a $100 million IRA." Good grief - Obama has a couple million, IF THAT. LOL, AxelROT's at it again - bloviating his nose and bald head off.

    July 15, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. King

    it always amazes me that when this country was going through hell, this mitten hid his money where it did nothing gfor the country, and when Obama took the country from the pit of hell, all of a sudden mitten shows up singing patriot songs rapping his body with the American flag, where was he when america needed him and his money.

    July 15, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. Peace

    No one is going to let Romney Tax Returns go without being solved (issuing more years and and not 2 years only). Folks, he is looking to be the President of the world, and not CEO of Bain Capital!

    July 15, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. Doug

    Why is it so important for us to know how much money Romney has unless Axelrod and the White house are going to try and use it against him for being successful and which is what everyone should aspire to be. Axelrod is very full of himself with everything that he says and I was once a Democrat for 30 years but can't take what Pelosi and Wasserman-Schult and Reid are doing to a once great party. They have destroyed the Democrat party all to get healthcare and Obama elected. Shame on the Democrat Part and all there rhetoric.

    July 15, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  9. Slouise

    David Axelrod is so full of it. Obama has a 12 million $ and his kids have trust funds. Why doesn't Obama talk about the issues ? Unemployment is at 8.2% and higher and obama wants to raise taxes on the middle class. This is a nice way to distract people from unemployment and Obamacare.

    July 15, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  10. Doug

    Axelrod tell me what the president has done as far as jobs for my country and about all the stimulus money went out of the country tha was suppose to be for jobs here so resourcer here.

    July 15, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Are right wingnuts aware that Obamacare is 5 times more popular than the republican congressmen?

    July 15, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. Slouise

    I think if Romney had broken the law; Obama would have the Feds arrest him. If he had not paid his fair share of taxes the IRS would have arrested him. None of that has happened so there isnt much of an issue. Obama also used tax loop holes. I think Axelrod failed to adress that.

    July 15, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Thomas

    Nobody uses Swiss Banks now days !

    Cayman Islands .

    July 15, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. 2020

    Mitt woke up with everybody including his buddy chasing him for his tax returns.

    This a a bad dream:

    Romney paced back and forth, how blind I were not see these questions coming? I fired the alien house worker, I thought it was enough. I paid my minimum tax, why they come after my Swiss bank account? Cayman and Burmuda. I worry now they will find the other investments I have overseas too. Ann, what should I do?

    Ann: I don't know, may be you should hire Dick Cheney as VP. He know how.

    July 15, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Bush inherited a 4.2% unemployment rate and left the president with an 8 million job loss in Bush's last three years, and 800,000 in his last month alone, which put us at 7.8% unemployment. President Obama has had over 4 million jobs created in the last 28 months, so we are moving in the right direction. Still, all this with no help from a single republican.

    July 15, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    At this point, there is no law against republicans lying, so Mittens is safe. It is his contradictions with the SEC that will get him in trouble.

    July 15, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Why do right wingnuts think the stimulus failed? Republican congressmen voted against the stimulus but took credit for the jobs it created in their district. Fox foreign owned media viewers will believe anything.

    July 15, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  18. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Math lesson: the percent of unemployment under Bush went from 4.2% to 7.8%. 7.8 – 4.2 = 3.6. 3.6 divided by 4.2 gives Bush an increase of 86% in the unemployed. Obama went from 7.8% to 8.2%. 8.2 – 7.8 = .4. .4 divided by 7.8 gives the president an overall increase in unemployment of 5%. Thought you would like to know.

    July 15, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  19. Teleprompter No Spin Zone

    Axelrod is talking total BS and he is hoping for uneducated voters to believe his garbage. Informed voters know better Thank God. But I am having a hard time fathoming the disgusting depths to which Barack Obama has goine to try to cling to his job in the face of a MISERABLE failure on his part. Obama has set this nation back 10 years; the seniors and the middle class will be paying dearly for Obama's policies for a decade..... and the blacks are the ones that have been deceived the most by Obama. Black unemployment is above 15% –and it will grow to 20-25% under a continuation of the jobless Obama economy. Obama has o shame; has no morals; and has little honesty - he has really degraded the Office of the Presidency - and that will be his sad legacy

    July 15, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I am not sure where the meth and mountain dew crowd gets their daily dose of lies and misinformation, but they need a reality check. The previous inept occupant of the white house gave us 9-11, two unfunded wars, class warfare, tax cuts for the wealthy, an unfunded drug program, TARP, a near depression, and a $4.6 trillion increase in our national debt.

    July 15, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. h2oclerk

    If unethical incompetents like Obama didn't chase money away from the US, then offshore accounts and business holdings would not be so attractive. The fact is that Obama even now aggressively advocates taxing overseas earnings of US companies, and the only thing that will succeed in doing is to drive move US companies to reincorporate overseas to protect their earnings. If you don't like having manufacturing workers jobs shipped overseas, how will you like it when government has driven the management overseas as well?

    This is an international market, something Obama has no more concept of than he does of managing any real business. Obama is a rank incompetent, whose policies have dragged this recession on far longer than it should have, and wh spends virtually all his time blaming industries and all other for his abject failures. He is disgraceful.

    July 15, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  22. g

    wonder if dick cheney and mitts off shore accounts are side by side–blood money accounts and stolen money accounts

    July 15, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |

    CLEARLY and RESOLUTELY fighting & dying in VIETNAM!!

    Romney has criticized Obama on a range of foreign policy issues

    And where are the military uniforms in your family hanging Willard?

    Many of us are not willing to give you our sons and daughters for
    another war in exchange for Swiss bank accounts and car elevators. Of
    course, while he's beating the drums for war – his five good for
    nothing sons will be making Spanish speaking commericals and jumping
    into a nice cool pool at one of their many estates

    July 15, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. John

    Mitt had a choice to where he put his money. He put his money in Swiss bank accounts and tells everyone how much he loves America. It is not what a person says but what he does. Mitt has chosen not to invest in America and to outsource to China and India to make a handsome profit. It is not country first with Romney. He has chosen profit over country.

    July 15, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  25. vic , nashville ,tn

    Good job Chicago

    Today morning in abc three conservatives two liberals in the round table, two conservatives join with liberal saying Bain attack is working that energize Obama’s base

    July 15, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
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