By Mike Lillis
Stumping in the swing state of New Hampshire on Saturday, President Obama hit Mitt Romney on a topic that's haunted the GOP presidential contender all summer: taxes.
The president hammered the Democrats' long-running charge that Romney's tax plan favors the wealthy over the middle class – an accusation that's only gained steam since the presumptive GOP nominee tapped Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate.
"The centerpiece of my opponent’s entire economic plan is a new, $5 trillion tax cut, a lot of it going to the wealthiest Americans," Obama said at a stop in Windham.
Romney, for his part, has said his plan seeks lower tax rates, regardless of income, and would eliminate many loopholes to cover the loss in revenues.
The Romney campaign responded to Obama's charges even before the New Hampshire speech, calling it a "false attack." Republicans argue that the president's plan to allow the Bush-era tax rates to expire on the wealthiest people would cripple the ability of businesses to make new hires.
"The fact is President Obama wants to raise taxes on private investment and job creators, which will lead to higher unemployment and fewer jobs," Ryan Williams, a Romney campaign spokesman, said in an email. "The Romney-Ryan Plan eliminates taxes for the middle class on interest, dividends and capital gains and implements pro-growth policies to deliver more jobs and more take-home pay for middle-class families."
Still, Romney has yet to release the full details of his tax plan, leaving him open to accusations that it would benefit the wealthy at the expense of middle class Americans.
Adding fuel to the Democrats' charges, the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan policy shop, found recently that a plan like Romney's would hike taxes on those earning less than $200,000 per year, while providing generous tax breaks for those earning more.
The report was not overlooked by Democrats, as Obama's New Hampshire speech Saturday makes clear.
"Gov. Romney’s tax plan would actually raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of $2,000. Not to reduce the deficit, or grow jobs, or invest in education but to give another tax cut to people like him," Obama said.
"They have tried to sell us this trickle-down fairy dust before," Obama added. "It didn’t work then and it won’t work now. It’s not a plan to create jobs. It’s not a plan to cut the deficit. And it’s not a plan to move our economy forward.”
Romney and Ryan are scheduled to visit New Hampshire on Monday.
The Obama campaign has also pressured Romney to release additional tax returns after a report last month detailed his use of offshore accounts.
Romney has released returns from 2010, which show him paying 13.9 percent, and an estimate of his 2011 taxes.
His running mate Paul Ryan released records from 2010 and 2011, which showed him paying a tax rate of 15.9 percent and 20 percent respectively.
The Obama campaign has asked Romney to release five years of returns, a call the GOP candidate's campaign has rebuffed.
This story was first posted at 12:03 and has been updated.