President Barack Obama's reelection campaign is going after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan for failing to specify how they would pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, arguing in a new television ad that middle class American families would be forced to foot the bill.
The new ad, released Wednesday and titled "Won't Say," opens with a zinger on Romney's refusal to release his personal tax returns or offer specifics on how his tax plan would impact the middle class.
"Mitt Romney: He won't reveal what's in his taxes, and he won't tell you what he'd do to yours," a narrator says at the beginning of the ad, which will air in Iowa, Nevada, Virginia, and Ohio.
The commercial then pivots to how Romney's proposed tax plan would pay for $5 trillion in planned tax cuts, which the Obama campaign says are skewed to millionaires and billionaires "like him." Citing an analysis from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the ad notes that, under Romney's tax plan, "taxpayers with children who make less than $200,000 would pay, on average, $2,000 more in taxes."
"How much would you pay?" the narrator asks as the ad comes to a close. "Romney just won't say."
Accompanying the ad is a memo from Obama campaign Policy Director James Kvaal, which takes a closer look the plan put forward by Romney and Ryan.
"Romney’s tax and budget plans are a riddle wrapped inside a mystery wrapped inside a total sham," Kvaal said in the memo. "Governor Romney and his advisers frankly admit that they won’t reveal their policy plans because it would make them less likely to be elected."
Romney and Ryan have repeatedly stated that they would offset tax cuts for the wealthy by closing tax loopholes, but Kvaal notes their apparent inability to identify which particular loopholes they would close.
Both men on the Republican presidential ticket were questioned on the issue of tax loopholes in interviews on Sunday, and both Romney and Ryan dodged the question.
"We think the secret to economic growth is lower tax rates for families and successful small businesses by plugging loopholes," Ryan told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week." "Now the question is not necessarily what loopholes go, but who gets them. High income earners use most of the loopholes. That means they can shelter their income from taxation."
When pressed by Stephanopoulos on why he would not be more forthcoming in naming which loopholes he would close, Ryan responded, "George, because we want to have this debate in the public. We want to have this debate with Congress. And we want to do this with the consent of the elected representatives of the people and figure out what loopholes should stay or go and who should or should not get them."
Similarly, host David Gregory asked Romney on NBC's "Meet the Press" to provide an example of a loophole he would close -- a request Romney failed to oblige.
"Well, I can tell you that people at the high end, high income taxpayers, are going to have fewer deductions and exemptions," he said. "Those numbers are going to come down. Otherwise they'd get a tax break. And I want to make sure people understand, despite what the Democrats said at their convention, I am not reducing taxes on high income taxpayers."
Read the full Obama campaign memo below: