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With Mitt Romney fundraising in Colorado, state Dems jump on his offshore accounts

Illustrating the importance of Colorado as a key battleground in the presidential election, Mitt Romney is campaigning in the state this week -- and the Dems aren't letting him get away without a counterattack. Romney is hosting a fundraiser in Aspen tonight and has an event tomorrow morning at a high school in Grand Junction.

And the Colorado Democrats took the opportunity this morning to call reporters and highlight recent reports about Romney's offshore accounts.

Today, Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland, Colorado Democratic Party Chair Rick Palacio and State Senator Gail Schwartz organized the conference call to discuss their concerns with Romney's tax plans and also draw attention to recent reports of offshore bank accounts -- pushing the strategy to present the Republican nominee as a wealthy candidate whose presidency would only hurt the middle class.

"Myself and many others were deeply troubled by reports of offshore accounts," Palacio says. "Now we are learning he has this mysterious corporation in Bermuda. This is unbelievable."

Obama's team has been pushing Romney to reveal more of his tax records, on the heels of reports that the Republican candidate has accounts in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

"These investments raise some serious red flags," Palacio says. "The American people deserve to know more.... We want to know why...Mitt Romney won't release his tax returns and what he's trying to hide." In addition to going after his personal finances, the officials on the call today, unsurprisingly, criticized Romney's tax plan and what it could mean for middle-class families and small businesses. On top of promoting the image of Romney as an out-of-touch wealthy candidate, the Obama campaign is pushing to extend tax cuts for the middle class and not for the rich.

"It's unfortunate that Governor Romney plans to come here and again collect big dollar donors...and not really listen to the issues facing [this community]," says Schwartz. She represents one of Romney's major stops: Aspen.

Reporters today asked Dem officials if they were concerned about fundraising, since Romney's team and the supporting super PACs and affiliated organizations have been funneling a lot of cash into the swing states.

Palacio responded with the narrative that the Obama campaign has continued to push in this area -- that the president faces the threat of being outspent by wealthy donors on the other side, but that it is the widespread, grassroots support that will secure his reelection. It is worth noting that as of last month, in the Denver metro area, Obama's team had in fact far outspent Romney's team in local television ads.

In fact, just today, Obama's campaign team sent out an e-mail urging supporters to contribute $3 or more, with this line: "We could lose if this continues." (referring to GOP fundraising).

"Money can buy a lot of advertising," Palacio said. "Money can't buy the one-on-one conversations and relationships our grassroots supporters have all across Colorado."

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Contacted by Westword today about the call, Romney's team fired back with a statement from Ciara Matthews, Colorado communications director:

President Obama is engaged in a desperate attempt to distract voters from his abysmal record since taking office. Despite even more negative economic news hitting the wires on Friday, the President is doubling down on his failed policies by proposing higher taxes for families, small businesses, and job creators. This idea hasn't worked in the past and even members of his own party have rejected the idea of raising taxes in the middle of a recession. It is time to focus on real middle-class tax relief and job creation, and that is exactly what Governor Romney laid out in his detailed proposals to get our economy working.

More from our Politics archive: "Pro-Romney group launches major Colorado ad blitz attacking Obama"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.

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