Ex-Gov. Ted Strickland, a national co-chairman of the President Barack Obama re-election campaign, strongly criticized Mitt Romney, saying the Republican presidential candidate is “lacking in economic patriotism.”
Strickland, a Democrat, told The Vindicator on Monday that Romney’s overseas investments and bank accounts should greatly concern voters.
“This man, who wants to be our president, had a Swiss bank account, he set up a shell corporation in Bermuda, he invested in the Cayman Islands,” Strickland said. “Why would anyone who wanted to be the president of the United States of America ever, ever have a Swiss bank account? Why would he take his wealth and invest it in the Cayman Islands?”
Strickland said Romney’s overseas investments and bank accounts are “just the opposite” of what Americans did during World War II.
“This country was in need of investments [during World War II], and Ohioans and Americans were asked to buy war bonds — to take whatever meager resources they had and buy war bonds,” he said. “They did because the country needed their investment.”
Romney took his personal investments and moved them overseas, and “now he says, ‘I want to be your president because I know how to create jobs,’” Strickland said.
The former governor said, “I’m not saying he doesn’t love America, but I’m saying he is lacking in economic patriotism.”
In response, Christopher Maloney, a Romney spokesman, said: “The fact that the Obama campaign has now resorted to questioning Mitt Romney’s patriotism just underscores the desperate and worried state in which they find their candidate’s standing in Ohio.”
When Strickland served as governor, the state was “forced to endure ballooning budget deficits, higher taxes and a loss of nearly 400,000 jobs,” Maloney said. “... It’s not shocking Strickland’s dismal economic record qualifies him as an acceptable surrogate for the Obama campaign.”
During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Romney said he didn’t receive any tax savings by having the Swiss bank account or the Cayman Island investment.
Defending the overseas monetary issue on Fox News, Romney said he could have told his financial investment trustee: “Don’t make any investments in any foreign companies, in any foreign bonds, in any foreign currencies, only U.S. entities and, by the way, don’t buy foreign products, don’t have any Japanese TVs or foreign cars.”
Strickland joined about 35 local Democrats on Monday outside the Golden Dawn Diner on the city’s North Side to say electing Romney as president would devastate the middle class.
Strickland said a Romney presidential administration would have “disastrous consequences” for the middle class.
Obama’s campaign kicked off in Youngstown on Monday a three-day bus tour through Ohio. The campaign is calling it the “Romney Economics: Wrong for the Middle Class” tour.
After the event, Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras said he’s been told by the president’s campaign that Obama definitely will be back in the Mahoning Valley before the November general election.
Betras said if Romney loses Ohio, he will lose the national election.
Monday also was the official start of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Because of weather, the convention opened briefly and will reconvene today.
During the Democratic press conference in Youngstown, the official Romney campaign bus parked nearby with the driver honking the horn a few times. The Romney bus made stops Monday in Niles and Boardman.