David Axelrod sought to sharpen a line of attack against Mitt Romney on Sunday, accusing him of paying less than his fair share of taxes by using "every single conceivable tax shelter and loophole."
"I'm not suggesting that, based on what we know, that he's done anything illegal," Obama's top campaign adviser said on CNN's State of the Union. "I'm not suggesting that. But what I am suggesting is that he's taken advantage of every single conceivable tax shelter and loophole that we can see."
Axelrod's comments come as pressure mounts on Romney to release more than the one year of tax returns he's provided to the public. He said on Friday that he would be releasing this year's returns once they're ready, but declined to release any other years, saying that he's fully compliant with the law and doesn't feel it's necessary. That stance has brought him criticism for what some consider an attempt to hide money-saving accounting practices, which could turn off middle class voters who don't have access to the same sort of tax breaks.
Axelrod sought to frame the tax issue as one of class, arguing that Romney wouldn't be the best man in the White House because his stance on taxes and other economic issues are out of alignment with those held my most Americans.
"Is he the guy who is going to clean up our tax code and make it advantageous to average taxpayers and the country, or is he going to look at it through the lens of his own experience?" he said.
Axelrod said that even though Obama "could have a Swiss bank account if he wanted it," he doesn't because "he looks at this through a different lens."