Obama vs. Romney: Who's most 'elitist' and out of touch?
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are both Harvard graduates. Both are wealthy, although Romney is much richer. Each campaign is trying to paint the other as a candidate for American's wealthy, not the ordinary voter.
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Obama's team and Senate Democrats have teed up the issue ahead of the annual mid-April deadline when many Americans file their income tax returns with the federal government. In addition to Obama's speech, the president was expected to appear with millionaires and their secretaries who support the plan at the White House on Wednesday while Vice President Joe Biden was discussing the issue in a campaign speech in New Hampshire on Thursday. Yet beyond tax policy, the Buffett rule serves as a touchstone in the contenders' fight to portray each other as the candidate of the elite at a time of 8.2 percent unemployment.Skip to next paragraph
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While both Romney and Obama are millionaires, there is a huge difference in their wealth. Presidential candidates have to disclose broad outlines of their holdings, but it's possible to discern only a wide range. Romney is worth $190 million to $250 million, according to the filings. Obama is worth between $1.8 million and nearly $12 million.
Democrats contend Romney's past as head of the private equity firm Bain Capital is a major weakness because he was paid to reorganize companies, a process that sometimes led to the elimination of jobs. Obama's campaign has repeatedly pressed Romney to release several years of tax returns, pointing to personal tax records that have shown investments in the Cayman Islands and a Swiss bank account. There have been no indications, however, that the investments were used to avoid taxes.
And then there are some of the video clips circulating on YouTube: Romney's proposed $10,000 bet to Texas Gov. Rick Perry during a debate in December; his declaration in January, discussing health insurance providers, that he likes "being able to fire people who provide services to me," and more recently his comment in February that he's "not concerned about the very poor" because they have an "ample safety net."
Romney's wealth gained more attention last month when Politico reported that planned renovations to his San Diego-area oceanside home included a four-vehicle garage with an "elevator lift" to transport vehicles between floors.
Romney, focusing ever more attention on Obama, has made a concerted push to paint the president as a detached liberal who doesn't fully grasp the depths of the nation's economic woes. Obama, who has written two best-selling books and taught at the University of Chicago School of Law, is portrayed as an enthusiastic supporter of government instead of private enterprise.