September 23rd, 2012
11:01 AM ET
10 years ago

Graham: It's about your bank account, not Romney's Swiss account

(CNN) – It was a rough week for Mitt Romney's campaign, but Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says last week's bumps in the road will not be a focus for voters come Election Day.

Romney began the week defending his comments that were secretly recorded at an event last spring, and ended it facing renewed questions about his tax returns.

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Graham, however, said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that he expects concerns about the economy will transcend any gaffes or questions about Romney's financial portfolio.

"I think it's going to be about your bank account, not his Swiss bank account," the South Carolina senator said. "It's going to be about your job, whether you have one, or whether you are afraid of losing it."

Graham argued that the state of the economy under the Obama administration - particularly the unemployment rate, which has yet to drop below 8% - puts Romney "in good shape" when voters get to the polls.

"During the debate, we're going to focus on four years of Barack Obama, not everything just about what Mitt Romney may have said or put his dog on the car," Graham added, referring to those who have made noise about Romney taking a family trip in 1983 with his dog in a cage strapped to the top of his car.

Romney faced fierce criticism this week after tapes emerged from a May fund-raiser in which he argued nearly half of Americans were "victims" who were dependent on the government.

"There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney says in the video. "There are 47% who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."

Graham also played down the importance of another tape in the spotlight this week - a 1998 clip of Obama speaking at Loyola University in favor of structuring government in a way that facilitates "some redistribution – because I actually believe in some redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody's got a shot."

"Quite frankly, it's not going to be about a 14-year-old comment that President Obama made about redistribution. It's going to be about you, your family," the senator told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

On the same program Sunday, Majority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin admitted the economy was not in as good shape as he had expected by now, but argued Obama was still a better choice than Romney in November.

"We were all hoping it would be better," Durbin said on "State of the Union." "We didn't realize the depths of the recession that the president inherited."

Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who's known the president since Obama served as an Illinois state senator, argued Obama is still riding on the momentum he had coming out of the Democratic convention earlier this month. He said some of Romney's recent "mistakes" have given the president "more traction" moving forward.

The senator, who introduced Obama at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, said Romney's stand against raising taxes on the very wealthy will also turn voters away from the Republican this fall.

"They are not going to support a president who is going to make life even more difficult for those living paycheck to paycheck," Durbin said.

Perhaps to shift the discussion away from the secretly recorded tapes, Romney released his complete 2011 tax return and information about two decades' worth of taxes on Friday, in part to quiet critics calling for the candidate to make public his tax records.

Durbin, however, argued it wasn't enough.

"Why are his income tax returns still important?" Durbin said. "There is something in those income tax returns he doesn't want America to see, so he selectively has been disclosing a few things here and there. He is still the first presidential candidate in history with a Swiss bank account."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. mikle

    How anybody can support this president. Where is hope and change? where is all his promises? People play blind but will pay in another 4 years. His plan don't work. Don't you see it. Vote for Obama and the same bla-bla-bla- will occur .

    September 23, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. Stephen Bibb

    It's about Romney's willingness to further expand CORPORATE MONOPOLIZATION reducing COMPETITION IN THE MARKET PLACE,

    September 23, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. rla

    When the democrats have only the tired campaign points and have NOTHING TO TO SHOW FROM FOUR YEARS ROMNEY WINS!

    September 23, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Mitt Romney: Believe in America, INVEST IN SWITZERLAND.

    September 23, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. mikle

    American killed in Mid. East, but Obama go to David Letterman. What a lieder? What a president. If he win election , he will go for mil$ vacation and golf. Like any American. Go Obama. Win,win. Every people deserve what government they vote for. Please, prove how stupid we are.

    September 23, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. CBR

    Oh Senator Graham, it is about both bank accounts. Our bank account goes up very slowly. Interests rates are not great. Our investments are going up as well, perhaps not as quickly as before but they are increasing but never decreasing in value. Mr. Romney has obviously done much better. He is able to put money into Swiss bank accounts and off-shore accounts. However, every time he does so he is taking money out of the country. how does that help the economy? How can he say he believes in America while adding money to his Swiss and off-shore accounts? Has anyone asked him those questions or has anyone spoken with him about his investments, off-shore accounts, and expenditures. Dlon't forget that he has not held a paying job for the last 4 years or so.

    September 23, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. RudyG

    Mr. Durbin: the ONLY reason Romney's tax deductions are still a Dem hot topic is because Obama does not want to, nor can afford to, discuss the ECONOMY!!!! If this president were running against a good campaigner like Reagan or Clinton, we would all be talking about what Chicago neighborhood he'd be moving into!! I voted for him, but enough of the smoke and mirrors, and the fancy but empty talk!

    September 23, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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