When Mitt Romney reminds everyone of his enormous personal success, it creates serious problems for a candidate already struggling to connect with average Americans. Every time Romney says he knows NFL team owners, or NASCAR team owners, it adds to the perception that he's out of touch with average Americans suffering to make ends meet.
But what about President Obama? He's not in Romney territory, but the president is doing pretty well for himself -- and he likes mentioning it on the stump.
"I don't believe that giving someone like me a $250,000 tax cut is more valuable to our future than hiring transformative teachers or providing financial aid to the children of a middle-class family," Obama said yesterday at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland.
It's hardly the first time Obama has referenced his own good financial fortune. "If [Congress] vote[s] to keep giving tax breaks to people like me -- tax breaks our country can't afford -- then they're going to have to explain to you where that money comes from," Obama said in a weekly radio address in March.
He's telling the truth: On top of his $400,000 yearly salary, Obama made between $150,000 and $1.1 million on book sales last year, according to his personal financial disclosure [pdf]. All told, he's worth more than $6 million, according to Forbes' calculations.
Obama uses his wealth to make the point that some wealthy people believe their tax rates should be higher. But at a time when Obama's campaign is trying to label Romney as hopelessly out of touch because of his massive wealth, perhaps Obama might want to avoid reminding voters that he's certainly better off than he was four years ago.