Few issues galvanize the American electorate like money: who has it, who doesn’t, and what various people are doing to get it. In the 2012 presidential race, money may become the determining factor in the outcome.
If so, this is not good news for the Democratic incumbent, President Barack Obama. The champion fundraiser of 2008, who was able to refuse taxpayer money for his campaign because he was flooded with donations from the little people, is now locked in a fierce battle with a challenger who has made money the main pillar of his bid for the White House.
Mitt Romney, the all-but-crowned Republican nominee, is a very wealthy man — one of the richest, they say, ever to run for president. He touts his success at every opportunity, saying, in effect, that his ability to make money makes him uniquely qualified to lead the country.
But questions are now being raised about how he got his money, what he has done with it, and how the laws of the land seem to be in favor of Romney and other fat cats.
On Thursday, the Boston Globe broke the story that Romney remained CEO of Bain Capital three years longer than he's claimed. That sparked a firestorm of criticism, and prompted Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter to call Romney "the most secretive candidate to run for president since Richard Nixon," Politico reports.
The news comes after a trail of trouble-raising issues about Romney's finances. These are highlighted sharply by an investigative report in this month’s Vanity Fair. A lack of transparency in his financial dealings, says author Nicholas Shaxson, has made it difficult to unravel the tangled web of offshore accounts, tax havens, and questionable accounting practices that have allowed Romney to amass, and keep, his wealth.