President Obama's re-election campaign on Tuesday unveiled an ad questioning whether Mitt Romney somehow avoided paying any federal income taxes some years.
The ad, aimed at pressuring Romney to make public more of his tax history, came as Romney focused on the issue of taxes as well (he accused the president of funneling taxpayer money to his political buddies), and as a new poll showed Americans by a 2-to-1 margin favor the president's plan for handling the Bush-era tax cuts over that of his Republican rival.
Obama's provocative ad, "Makes You Wonder," was slated to run on TV stations in Pennsylvania. Romney was campaigning in swing state Tuesday.
"Romney admits that over the last two years, he's paid less than 15 percent in taxes on $43 million in income. Makes you wonder if some years he paid any taxes at all," a narrator says in the ad. "We don't know because Romney has released just one full year of his tax returns. ... What is Mitt Romney hiding?"
On the campaign trail Monday, Romney repeatedly suggested that Obama's policies benefited the president's political donors at the expense of the typical taxpayer.
"He has taken your money, your tax money and given it to the businesses owned by his campaign contributors. And at best that stinks," Romney said at a fundraiser in Jackson, Miss., The Wall Street Journal reports.
A poll released Monday by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press shows that Americans overwhelmingly favor Obama's approach to handling the Bush-era tax cuts — which are set to expire at year's end — over Romney's plan.
Obama has called for continuing the tax break for those making up to $250,000 per year; Romney wants to continue the tax breaks for all incomes.
Pew found that 44 percent of respondents said tax hikes on those making more than $250,000 would help the economy, while 22 percent said it would hurt the economy. Forty-four percent said it would make the tax system fairer, while 21 percent said it would make it less fair.
The Romney campaign Tuesday hinted that the tax issue might be supplanted by another topic sooner rather than later on the campaign trail: It announced that it had filled two support positions for the vice presidential candidate: director of operations (Randy Bumps) and communications director (Kevin Sheridan).
Romney has suggested he could announce his vice presidential running mate well before the Republican National Convention in late August.