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Gibbs, Democrats hit Romney over offshore bank accounts

Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs ripped Mitt Romney on Monday for his personal finances. 

Gibbs, who now acts as a campaign strategist for President Obama, said Romney's personal finances are relevant to his ability to deal with reforming the tax code.

Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Gibbs said voters won't trust someone who "has sheltered their income taxes in Switzerland and the Caymans and Bermuda" to "get under the hood and get us to a place of tax fairness." 

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Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has seen his private-equity background and wealth come under withering attack from the Obama campaign. Gibbs seized on a Vanity Fair report released last week detailing Romney's offshore accounts and investments in making his attack.

"One of the most interesting developments and probably one of the most important developments in this campaign … was it was reported that Mitt Romney's taken pretty extraordinary steps to hide the fact that he has a shell corporation in Bermuda," Gibbs said.

The Romney campaign hit back, calling the criticism a character assault that is "unseemly" and "disgusting" and slamming Obama as a "typical politician willing to use false and dishonest attacks to save his job," reported MSNBC. 

Gibbs's appearance is part of a coordinated effort by Democrats to play up the issue. 

Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), Gov. Martin O’Malley (Md.) and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) all hammered Romney's foreign accounts and tax records on the Sunday talk shows.

"He is the first and only candidate for president of the United States with a Swiss bank account, with tax shelters, with tax-avoidance schemes that involve so many foreign countries," Durbin said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Gibbs repeated his calls for Romney to release more of his tax records given the recent reporting on his finances.

"The American people deserve to know if he's sheltering this money somewhere or quite frankly is he not paying the taxes that he owes, and the only way to do that, quite honestly, is to release more tax returns," Gibbs said Monday.

The former Massachusetts governor has already released his 2010 tax return and estimated records for 2011.

Read more on Romney's reported offshore finances and the Democratic response.