The Washington Post

Something to hide?

Let's score the first round in the presidential campaign: Barack Obama 2, the press 1, Mitt Romney 0.

Yesterday, Sen. Dick Durbin and other Obama allies held a news conference, ostensibly to attack Romney's tax policies. But the real mission became clear: Raise questions about Romney's Swiss bank account.

Swiss bank accounts: Could there be a better symbol of the super-rich with something to hide? While the Obama allies tried to use Romney's banking practices as evidence of his betting against the United States, pointing out the currency play in Romney's transfer, the phrase alone is powerful enough. To ears of a certain age, at least, Swiss bank accounts have always connoted something shady and certainly not something available to your average wage-earner or holder of a 401(k).

So far, the news conference was a direct hit on Romney's glaring weakness: He is out of touch. His campaign seemed caught by surprise and had no answer. But the Obama folks should have quit while they had the shutout. Instead, campaign manager Jim Messina called for Romney to release 23 years of tax returns. The press pounced: "How about your guy, Jim? He good for 23 years, too?" Messina didn't seem ready for that one, so score one for the press. But all in all, a good day for Obama.

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