Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) struggled on Sunday to explain presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's investments outside the United States, including Swiss bank accounts and a corporation in Bermuda.
During an interview with ABC's Terry Moran, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) ripped into Romney for betting "against America" with his foreign investments.
"President Obama is not running against the Almighty, he is running against the alternative," O'Malley explained. "And the alternative in this case is Gov. Mitt Romney, who had the 47th worst job-creation rate as governor, and also has a penchant, a talent for offshoring American jobs -- sending them overseas. And also maintaining offshore bank accounts in Bermuda, Swiss bank accounts."
The Maryland governor added: "I've never known of a Swiss bank account to build an American bridge, a Swiss bank account to create American jobs, or Swiss bank accounts to rebuild the levies to protect the people of New Orleans. That's not an economic strategy for moving our country forward."
Moran asked Jindal if it was even fair for voters to consider Romney's investments outside the U.S.
"The bottom line is I'm thrilled Mitt Romney has been successful in the private sector," Jindal demurred.
"Is it OK for voters to consider the money he has put outside of the country in tax havens offshore, in secret Bermuda companies?" Moran pressed. "Does that make sense for voters to consider?"
"I think voters will consider all the distractions put out by the Obama campaign," Jindal quipped. "At the end of the day, this election is about two fundamental choices. It's about President Obama, who wants to continue to spend money we don't have, incurred now a trillion dollar-plus deficit every year he's been president after he promised we'd cut the deficit in half."
But O'Malley quickly disagreed that the Obama campaign was throwing "sand in the eyes of the American voters" to divert attention away from the president's record.
"No, it's not a distraction at all," O'Malley insisted. "The relevance is this, that Gov. Romney can't claim that his state was actually great at creating jobs when he was governor so he's fallen back and said, 'Vote for me, I was a business man, I created jobs.' You want to talk about going the way of Europe? What went the way of Europe were the Swiss bank accounts and the American dollars that Mitt Romney stuffed in that offshore Swiss bank account, jobs that he facilitated companies in moving offshore, out of places like Ohio, out of Pennsylvania and Maryland."
"This is a fundamental disagreement between two different candidates and their vision for our county's future," he continued. "Barack Obama believes enough in our country to be willing to work for it and invest in it. Mitt Romney bets against America. He bet against America when he put his money in Swiss bank accounts and tax havens and shelters and also set up the secret company, the shell company in Bermuda. Which by the way in order to avoid disclosure, he put in his wife's name right before he became governor of Massachusetts."
"These are legitimate questions that a man who is holding himself as wanting to lead our country forward needs to answer."
Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs on Sunday called for Romney to release several years of tax returns to prove that he was not dodging tax laws.
"The one thing he could do, Candy, to clear up whether or not he’s done anything illegal, whether he’s shielding his income from taxes in either Bermuda or Switzerland is to do what every other presidential candidate has done, and that’s release a series of years of their own tax returns," Gibbs told CNN's Candy Crowley. "This is a guy whose slogan is ‘Believe in America’ and it should be ‘Business in Bermuda.’ That’s what Mitt Romney is all about."
(h/t: Talking Points Memo)