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About Obama’s Pension and Romney’s Cayman Accounts

October 18, 2012

One of the many odd choices Mitt Romney made during Tuesday’s debate was to bring up President Obama’s pension plan. I guess Romney thought to preempt any attacks on his own offshore investments. Not only did Romney come off as an over eager dog-with-a-bone…

“Mr. President, have you looked at your pension? Have you looked at your pension? … … Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?”

He also set Obama up for a dig at Mr. Romney’s one-percentism masquerading as a memorable laugh line.

“You know, I don’t look at my pension … it’s not as big as yours.”

Drat. Mitt was sure he’d score some points by pointing out that Obama’s pension has both investments in China and a Cayman Islands trust. (And that this would somehow inoculate him from worse charges.) Unfortunately for Mitt, his awkward handling of the issue made the whole exchange into a joke rather than the “gotcha” moment Mitt had hoped for. But even if Mitt had landed his punch, there’s not much punch there:

Governor Romney pointed out that President Obama’s pension holds investments in Chinese companies and even in a Cayman Islands trust. Unlike Romney’s self-directed Individual Retirement Account, the President’s pension is in a system over which the President has absolutely no control; it’s an account with the Illinois General Assembly Defined Benefit Pension Plan. To somehow compare that with the vast wealth that Romney has personally placed offshore is ludicrous.

While Romney was at the helm of Bain Capital, the private equity firm began forming all of its new funds in the Cayman Islands through labyrinthine structures that allow investors to legally avoid – and illegally evade – tax. In addition, Gov. Romney has a Bermuda corporation which has never been explained and, of course, there is that famous Swiss bank account. Over 250 of the 379 pages of Romney’s 2011 tax return are devoted to disclosing transactions with offshore corporations and partnerships. (CTJ)

In the end, Mitt probably ought to be glad that punch didn’t connect, because it could only mean more attention to his own sketchy finances.

Below, watch Jon Stewart take apart another moment in the debate where Mitt set himself up:

 

 

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2012 4:50 pm

    Yes, yes! I wanted President Obama to reply,”MIT what I’d rather study are your missing tax returns”.

  2. E.A. Blair permalink
    October 18, 2012 4:20 pm

    “Governor Romney pointed out that President Obama’s pension holds investments in Chinese companies and even in a Cayman Islands trust. “

    I’d like to know how Romney can be so certain of where the President’s pension fund invests its assets. Is he somehow privy to the details of Obama’s pension?

    Here’s another thing: Romney said he would lower rates on interest and capital gains income for the middle class. How many people are there in the middle class for whom interest and capital gains income is enough for this to make a difference? That type of income is the province of the filthy rich.

  3. October 18, 2012 4:00 pm

    There are a lot of posts on the debates, but this is a good one, and not just because I agree with you.

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