Polls continued to show this past weekend that Mitt Romney is falling behind in Ohio, with President Obama now doing 50 percent or better.
The most recent poll in the state, the University of Cincinatti poll, has Obama leading Romney by five points among likely voters in the state, 51-46 percent. An NBC/WSJ/Marist poll taken a few days earlier had similar results (50-43 percent).
Ohio is considered a “must-win” for Romney and, taken together with the latest polls there, explains his campaign’s frantic attention to the state this week. No Republican has ever been elected President without winning Ohio.
A new TV ad put out by the President’s campaign is aimed at working class voters. “Mitt Romney attacked 47 percent of Americans who pay no income tax, including veterans, the elderly, and the disabled,” the ad says. “Doesn’t the President have to worry about everyone? Mitt Romney paid just 14.1 percent in taxes last year. He keeps millions in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.” The ad ends up with: “Maybe instead of attacking others on taxes, Romney should come clean on his.”
The latest Romney ad seems to be an attempt to shift the resentment people have about his 47 percent remarks away from himself and onto China: “Fewer Americans are working today than when President Obama took office. It doesn’t have to be this way – if Obama would stand up to China.” The ad ends: “Obama had years to stand up to China. We can’t afford four more.”
Interviews the candidates had over the weekend on 60 minutes also showed Romney’s intent to step up his China bashing. He ignores, of course, the huge number of U.S. jobs that Bain Capital has exported to China.
“I’m going to look at every federal program and I’ll ask the question, ‘Is this program so critical that it is worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?’ And if it doesn’t pass that test, I’m going to eliminate the program.”
Obama said, in response on 60 Minutes: “We’ve already cut a trillion dollars…But what I’ve said is this: ‘You can’t ask me to make student loan cuts or ask seniors to pay more for their Medicare or throw people off of health care, and not ask people like me or Mitt Romney to do anything, not ask us to do a single dime’s worth of sacrifice.”
Under pressure on the issue of unfair tax rules, Romney finally released his own 2011 tax returns on Friday.
Damon Silvers, policy director and special counsel for the AFL-CIO called them “an education in injustice. Just like his 2010 return was. The peculiar letter he released from his tax accountant concerning his taxes before 2010, simply ads to the mystery,” said Silvers.
Silvers said the returns “show a man who made more than $13 million dollars – almost all of which appeared in his bank account without him doing a day’s work and yet paid a 14.1 percent tax rate while middle class America – people who make less than one percent of what he makes – pay a higher rate on money they earn from working.
Silver explained how workers who make too little to pay federal income taxes actually pay more than Romney does in other taxes.
“The typical low wage worker,” he said, “pays 7.5 percent of his or her income in Social Security and Medicare taxes. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan say we can’t afford Social Security and Medicare; that we need to take away health care and cut the incomes of seniors – but Mitt Romney pays out of his $13,696,951 in total income only 0.16 percent – a bit more than one thousandth – to Social Security and Medicare. Workers who make less than $110,000 pay the Social Security FICA tax on 100 percent of their income.”
Photo: Obama shakes hands at a campaign event Sept. 17 in Columbus, Ohio. Tony Dejak/AP