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. Anthony

    It is about your bank account. If you notice that your bank account is not going up but rich people like Romney are stashing more and more money in Swiss bank accounts and offshore tax havens, you are right. It is not class warfare for Democrats to point out that rich people like Romney are doing just fine in this economy. If that is class warfare, so is attacking people for not paying income tax. Some people have legitimate reasons for not paying income tax. For example, they may be elderly and retired.

    September 23, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Jim

    One wonders if the Romney accounts in foreign banks were reported to the IRS? If I have offshore accounts, they'd certainly want to know all the details of mine . . . but I'm not some out-of-touch, foot-in-mouth politician, so maybe that's different?

    September 23, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. Peace

    I have never heard anyone who use time and and energy, go to the voting booth in order to use his/her power of voting and cast the ballot for someone they dislike.

    September 23, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. Siara

    A difficult statement to parse when a tiny bit of your account has moved to his account and he wants more.

    September 23, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. 1twinsfan

    "It's about your bank account, not Romney's Swiss account." Or his Cayman one or his Bermuda one. Does anyone in the GOP think through the things they're about to say?

    September 23, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. flavoter

    My 401K is actually growing again. And our daughter is back on our health insurance. None of this happened under the last Republican administration. And Romney who does not care about his fellow man wants me to TAKE A CHANCE WITH HIM!!! no way!!. Romney scares the crap out of people I talk with here in FLA.

    September 23, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. Dave

    It's also about character and trust. I don't trust the character of a politician who tucks his wealth away in off shore banks.

    September 23, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. REG in AZ

    Yes, it is about our bank accounts but Romney's Swiss accounts, his off shore activity, his past tax returns, his history, his priorities and all tell what we can expect from him, where his loyalties and priorities are, what his ethics are ... and how he might affect our bank accounts. Maybe it would be best if they could just stop rationalizing why they don't need to be transparent and just disclose the information.

    September 23, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. Larry IN Houston

    don't care what the polls say – – I'm a democrat – and I honestly do not think he's gonna make it – only 4 states are going to decide it – romney will end up defeating obama by the slimmist of margins. (and I mean SLIM) otherwise, the supreme court will decide it. ( hopefully NOT )
    Vote Democrat 2012

    September 23, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. vic , nashville ,tn

    Sen. Lindsey Graham we understands your frustration
    From June 15th 2012, Every Sunday we believed Romney will do something different coming week to advance his campaign to next level, he killed 3 months with out any message or game change
    Say Obama records are bad , what is Romney plan ,Romney didn’t give any specific or goal

    September 23, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. flavoter

    Now if the government would do something about the credit scoring scam used to hurt many Americans. I can speak for myself and again people I know many were laid off or had pay cuts various situations that caused people to get behind on various payment thus destroying their credit scores now things are looking up for many. But the damaged credit score is now a major drag on background checks for jobs, major purchase.

    September 23, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. Sorensen

    Wrong again, Mr. Graham. It is the man with the swiss bank account who will have influence on your bank account.
    Only, the man with the swiss bank account is a total loser. So that will never happen.
    Mr. Graham, you are usually a lot smarter than that!

    September 23, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. DC from NJ

    Nice spin Lindsey, but the voters aren't buying this nonsense any longer. Romney has no spine, no soul, no independent thoughts. Obama will win easily, and the R's will just have to continue whining for 4 more years while the D's continue to move the country forward....

    September 23, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. Ancient Texan

    Romney's money is held in blind trust and has already had taxes paid on it...twice; as ordinary income, then as capital gains taxes on the increase in investment. It's his money and he can keep it wherever he wants.

    September 23, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. once upon a horse

    if Romney/Ryan has their way my bank account will shrink because I'm middle class and have health insurance....they want to make sure the upper class continues to pay less and the middle class pays more. Of course I am not in the middle class Romney sees which has an income of around 200 grand or so...wish I was but I'm not.

    September 23, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  16. vic , nashville ,tn

    Sen. Lindsey Graham your candidate Romney is running horrible campaign

    Every time Romney does something its raise more doubts or Romney campaign issued flow up statements WHY

    Democrats asked past 10 years of tax record but Romney campaign gave 20 years to adjust the average to 20% . Just we want to know under G.W.Bush tax cut what percentage he paid.

    September 23, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. Gail

    Why can't I find Obama's tax returns on the web. Why is no one asking why he made most of his rather large nest egg after campaigning for President. No-one seems to want to ask why he has profited so much from 'pubic service'. I am getting rather tired of the media's harping on the Romney tax return but not also providing information on Obama's for the time he was campaigning in 2007 until now.

    September 23, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. Joyce E Neal

    Graham needs to be replaced, he is old, is set in his ways & has no clue on how to compromise, which is what is needed to move America FORWARD; Graham is another road block in America moving FORWARD

    September 23, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. Dan

    If Republicans like Romney would put their money in America, all Americans bank accounts would rise.

    First, you ship our Jobs to China, then you store the money in foreign tax havens to avoid paying for the infrastructure that helps small businesses in America.

    September 23, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. yogi

    REG in AZ, you are spot on.
    Romney's actions and words an thinking do point in one direction: His character, and that is where where the problem lies, he is not honest, no backbone, he really doesn't care about the average person, and on top of it all he is very phony. His "business" experience is irrelevant in the presidency, the government is not a business and you cannot simply run it it with Bain Capital's template. Job creation never has been his strength (remember MA?), it was merely a byproduct of his business and completely irrelevant, and unfortunately for many people who lost their jobs as a result of this.
    Obama 2012!

    September 23, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. Stephen Bibb

    I beg to differ, IT IS ABOUT ROMNEY'S TAXES AND HIS SWISS BANK ACCOUNTS, and it is about his beliefs about the american people being VICTIMS to the Gov and passing off 47% of the country like they are not important. It is about his priorities of Deregulation, reduction of size of government, reducing Corporate taxation and willing to continue to send millions of more jobs overseas

    September 23, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  22. Dave Harris

    Is it wise to be reminded voters about Romney's Swiss bank account? Why does he have one, anyway. The usual purpose is to evade taxes. Big surprise.

    September 23, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. Stephen Bibb

    It's also about Romeney's desire and agenda to get rid of the department of education and environmental protection agency, raise the interest rates on student loans, get rid of student grant programs, turn medicare, social security and medicaid over to private industry and allow those programs to be played on the stock market with vouchers.

    September 23, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  24. labman57

    Translation: "Pay no attention to our candidate's unethical tax-evading habits behind the curtain!"

    September 23, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. Are you kidding me?

    @gail- the returns have been posted for years. Your comment is stupid and if you took time to think about it the tax returns and Willard's stashing of cash offshore is a total valid. As a person who believes "so" much in america why is his money stashed overseas? Why does he only want to release just 2 years of returns? If he wants to be transparent then he should release at least 6 years of his returns – that's how long he has been running.

    September 23, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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