President Barack Obama opened a new line of attack while campaigning in Ohio today, accusing Gov. Mitt Romney of supporting a tax system that would ship US jobs overseas. Romney does support a territorial tax system, rather than the current system of taxing US companies wherever they make profits. During his speech today, Obama touted the paper authored by Kimberly Clausing, of Reed University, that criticizes territorial taxation, citing Clausing as “non-partisan” despite the fact that she has donated to the Obama campaign twice this year as well as having donated to other Democratic causes.
Senior Obama campaign adviser Jeff Liebman led off an invitation-only blogger conference call this afternoon to reinforce the campaign’s stance on Clausing’s report, and spent the first several minutes addressing Clausing’s report and decrying the territorial tax system. A second campaign staffer then joined the call to read campaign talking points, accusing Romney of “pioneering shipping jobs overseas” despite the fact that numerous fact-checkers have found no evidence that Bain Capital actually did ship jobs overseas.
The Obama campaign staff described today’s call as “on the record, but requiring quote approval.” That latter part means bloggers and reporters who were told in advance about the call are abiding by restrictions as to what they may publish without first getting their stories approved by the Obama campaign. At PJM, we were not told in advance about the call (I found out about it at the last minute and joined a few minutes into it) and do not respect such restrictions on a free press. The Romney campaign has never asked for them.
The campaign staffers took a few friendly questions from liberal bloggers, none of whom asked about Clausing’s partisan leanings or the president’s mischaracterization of same on the campaign trail today. Despite my repeated attempts to punch in and ask a question, the campaign staff did not take my question. If they had, I would have asked something to the effect of “Today, the president cited Clausing’s study as non-partisan but she has donated to his campaign. In light of this fact, should not the president and his campaign come clean and cite her as partisan supporter of the president who also happens to be using her university’s facilities to attack Mitt Romney?”