Obama camp jumps on Ryan’s ‘awkward’ pledge to close tax shelters


The Obama campaign is jumping on what it calls an “awkward moment” from Sunday night’s 60 Minutes joint interview of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Trying to help explain why the richest Americans wouldn’t pay a lower rate under Romney’s plan, Ryan said: 

What we’re saying is take away the tax shelters that are uniquely enjoyed by people in the top tax brackets so they can’t shelter as much money from taxation, should lower tax rates for everybody to make America more competitive.

(Watch the moment above.)

That’s not a proposal that Romney appears to have mentioned before. And it’s a subject the former Massachusetts governor might prefer to avoid, since he famously has money parked in several locations known as tax shelters, including Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. 

Team Obama wasted no time in highlighting Ryan’s comment. It sent out video of Ryan’s comment Sunday night, along with a statement saying:

In an awkward moment on “60 Minutes” tonight, Paul Ryan said that he wants to eliminate tax shelters “that are uniquely enjoyed by people in the top tax brackets.” But Mitt Romney has investments in foreign tax havens that span the globe, leading experts to question whether Romney’s avoided paying U.S. taxes. While we can’t know for certain if he’s using his offshore accounts and investments to avoid paying his fair share in taxes or hedge against the dollar until he releases additional tax returns, we do know that Romney approved the use of tax shelters as head of Marriott’s audit committee. Tax experts have noted that Romney’s role with these abusive tax shelters represent “a key troubling public manifestation of Romney’s apparent insensitivity to tax obligations.”

And it helpfully included links to several stories reporting on Romney’s approval of the Marriott tax shelter plan.

No word yet on whether Romney agrees with Ryan’s proposal.


Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney

Obama camp jumps on Ryan's 'awkward' pledge to close tax shelters