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New details about Romney's wealth confirm F. Scott Fitzgerald's quip about the rich

News sources report that Mitt Romney's financial portfolio has included an offshore company in Bermuda that remained invisible to voters. But it may be images of the Romney clan vacationing at their $8 million summer compound on a lake in New Hampshire that have more impact.

By Staff writer / July 7, 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney drives his family on his boat on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H., Friday, July 6, as he continues his vacation from the campaign trail.

Charles Dharapak/AP

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As everybody knows, Mitt Romney is a very wealthy man.

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Net worth somewhere around a quarter billion dollars, not counting the $100 million trust set up for his five sons. Offshore investments. A beach house in La Jolla, Calif., a town house in Belmont, Mass., and a summer compound on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.

Photos of the Romney clan riding jet skis and a large power boat on vacation in New Hampshire this week led Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi to wonder if this was Mr. Romney’s “John Kerry moment” or perhaps proof of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous line about the rich: “They are different from you and me.”

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In Senator Kerry’s case, it was the photo of him wind-surfing in 2004 when he was the Democratic challenger to former president George W. Bush – an image Republicans quickly used to show that Kerry’s wealth allowed him to live an elite life-style … “different from you and me.”

(Romney and Kerry are both tall, wealthy, patrician-looking Ivy Leaguers from Massachusetts. In President Obama’s debate prep, Kerry will act the role of Romney.)

It’s a ticklish political situation for Romney, or at least has the potential to be. He wouldn’t be the richest man ever to run for the White House (that would be Ross Perot back in 1992 and 1996). But if elected, he would be the wealthiest president ever, according to the detailed reporting of Forbes Magazine’s “wealth team.”

Back during the Republican primaries and debates, it took some needling by Newt Gingrich and others to get Romney to release his tax returns for just two years (far fewer than the 23 years he provided Sen. John McCain in 2008 when Romney was being considered as McCain’s running mate). Meanwhile, thanks to the reporting of Forbes and others, the specifics of Romney’s wealth are known in greater detail.

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