Obama campaign: Romney 'looks out for people just like him'

Mitt Romney is only looking out for millionaires like himself with his economic plan, President Obama's campaign manager charged in a Monday afternoon conference call.

“Romney’s plan looks out for people just like him,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. “He’s trying to obscure how much he would benefit by hiding his own tax records.”

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The line is part of the Obama campaign strategy to try to paint Romney as out of touch due to his wealth. Romney's team has made a similar charge about Obama.

Messina was speaking to reporters about Obama's support for the so-called "Buffett Rule," which the Senate will vote on next week.

Romney strongly opposes the measure, which would increase capital gains taxes on millionaires. It was named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has said he plays a lower tax rate than his secretary.

The Obama campaign argued that Romney’s policy stances were to benefit himself and his friends rather than help the economy, and pointed out that Romney’s personal tax rate of 13.9 percent last year was much lower than what most Americans paid. Romney paid taxes on capital gains income, which is taxed at a different rate than standard income.

“Romney is the beneficiary of a broken tax system and he wants to keep it that way,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

“Should our tax code be fair?” he asked earlier in the call. “Should those who are the wealthiest be paying a lower tax rate?”

Romney's counted that Obama wants to raise taxes.

"President Obama is the first president in history to openly campaign for re-election on a platform of higher taxes. He has already raised taxes on millions of Americans, but he won’t stop there. He wants to raise taxes on millions more by taxing small businesses and job creators," said Romney communications director Gail Gitcho in a statement.

Romney has released two years of tax records but has said he won’t release more. Durbin and Messina pointed out that he gave Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) 23 years of tax returns while he was being vetted as a possible vice presidential candidate in 2008, and asked why he wouldn’t do the same now.

“I see no reason why he would give John McCain 23 years and the American public only two,” said Messina.

“It is impossible for him to explain or defend owning a Swiss bank account,” Durbin said.

When asked whether Obama would also disclose 23 years of tax returns — he’s put out returns dating from 2000 — Messina demurred, and pivoted back to an attack on Romney.

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) said the choice between Democrats’ plans and Republicans’ was one of “one multi-millionaire or thousands of children, students or seniors,” and ticked off a list of programs that could be paid for with the plan, including closing the Medicare “doughnut hole” and paying for Pell Grants for low-income college students.

She also described House Republicans’ budget that would drastically alter Medicare as “the Romney-Ryan budget,” referring to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

When The Hill asked about the phrase, Messina suggested it would be a line attack in the coming days. “They have a lot in common,” he said. “Romney has wrapped his arms around the Ryan budget repeatedly.”

“That phrase is marvelous,” Durbin said.

— This story was updated at 4:25 p.m.