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Obama video targets Romney on tax fairness

President Obama's reelection campaign released a new video Tuesday morning using man-on-the-street interviews to knock Mitt Romney for his defense of lower tax rates on investment income.


The video opens with Romney responding to a question on CBS’s “60 Minutes” about the effective rate he paid on his income in 2011.

"Now, you made on your investments, personally, about $20 million last year. And you paid 14 percent in federal taxes. That's the capital gains rate. Is that fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate than you did?" asks CBS's Scott Pelley.

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The clip is edited to exclude Romney defending the capital gains rate as having "already been taxed once," instead highlighting Romney arguing the lower rate was "the right way to encourage economic growth."

Onscreen text then questions Romney's tax plan as footage shows him exiting his campaign plane.

"In fact, Romney's plan would cut taxes even more for millionaires like himself, and raise them on the middle class," the text reads.

Man-on-the-street interviews in Ohio and Virginia then show voters voicing frustration that Romney's effective tax rate is lower than what is paid on ordinary income.

The video highlights Romney's now-infamous "47 percent" remarks, secretly recorded at a campaign fundraiser, and features more on-the-street reaction from voters in swing states North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Wisconsin.

"I think it's a shame he can call out people who are working as hard as they can to put out food on the table," says one woman.

"Mitt Romney on tax fairness: Tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, tax hikes (and insults) for the middle class," the video concludes.

"If Mitt Romney was serious about keeping middle-class taxes low and protecting our nation’s security, he’d simply drop his insistence on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans — but he keeps doubling down on his plans instead," the Obama campaign said in a statement.

In an interview Monday, Romney running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Romney would actually pay more under the proposed Republican tax reforms.

"Here's how it works," Ryan told Fox Business Network. "Higher-income people can use lots of tax shelters to shelter some of their income from taxation. Close those tax shelters, more of their income is subject to taxation. That allows us to lower tax rates for everybody. This is a secret to economic success."

He also defended the information in Romney's tax returns, which use a combination of investment income and charitable giving to lower his rates.

"Number one, what Mitt's tax returns tell us is he's a successful businessman," Ryan said. "That's a pretty good thing, I think. I think that's the kind of experience we want. Number two, he's a very generous man. He and Ann Romney are very generous people. They believe in civil society. They believe in helping through charities. Number three, our pro-growth tax reforms are to lower tax rates for everybody by plugging loopholes, starting with people like Mitt Romney.”

And in a statement Tuesday, the Romney campaign dismissed the Obama campaign's criticism.

“There is only one candidate in this race who has raised taxes on middle-class workers and families – Barack Obama," said Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg. "The president’s tax increases will not make the next four years any better than the last – they will only stifle growth and job creation."