2012 sneak preview: New pro-Obama group rolls out class-warfare ad against Romney

posted at 3:47 pm on October 21, 2011 by Allahpundit

Via Political Wire, what’s the most depressing thing about this? The fact that it grossly distorts support for a lower long-term capital-gains rate generally into some sort of sinister plutocratic carve-out for millionaires specifically? (Contra the ad, you too can avail yourselves of the magical “millionaire rate” by buying stock and then selling it after a year, kids.) Or the fact that it reminds us we’ll be spending most of 2012, in all likelihood, doggedly riding to the defense of … Mitt Romney? Fully 52 percent of tea partiers already say they’ll vote for him if he’s the nominee. More of you will come around in due time. Assimilation is inevitable.

The group responsible for this Occupy-esque populist pander is Priorities USA, which was founded by former White House staffers Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney. Which means, if you’re wondering how the Plouffe/Axelrod brain trust is planning to target Romney in a general election campaign, you need wonder no longer. Remember, in fact, when the big attack line against McCain for a week in 2008 was that his wife owned six homes? Now that Team Hopenchange has helped ruin the economy, the class resentment they were trying to jumpstart three years ago is ironically an even more viable campaign weapon. Imagine how many sweet “Romney’s too damned rich” ads they’ll be ready to crank out if the economy falls back into recession and unemployment climbs above double digits again.

If you missed it last month, now’s the time to revisit The Atlantic’s chart showing how much revenue the “Buffett Rule” would — or rather, wouldn’t — bring in. It’d be one thing if they wanted extra revenue as part of a comprehensive plan to eliminate deficits, but we know from the Democrats’ attitude on entitlement reform how serious they are about that. What you’re seeing here isn’t part of any meaningful “solution” to the country’s budget crisis. It’s simple resentment aimed at getting the blue-collar voters they’ve alienated excited to turn out. Desperate, but what choice do they have?

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socialism. not interested but thanks for the invite.

hanzblinx on October 21, 2011 at 3:49 PM

More of you will come around in due time. Assimilation is inevitable.

don’t get me a started….

ted c on October 21, 2011 at 3:49 PM

And Romney will respond by attacking conservatives and agreeing with Obama.

2008 will be like 2012 with sadly, the same result for Obama.

angryed on October 21, 2011 at 3:50 PM

..this ad will go nicely with the OWS protests whose..um..odor will linger long after they clean up Zucotti park.

The War Planner on October 21, 2011 at 3:50 PM

It’d be one thing if they wanted extra revenue as part of a comprehensive plan to eliminate deficits, but we know from the Democrats’ attitude on entitlement reform how serious they are about that.

Resistance to tax increases would lessen a whole lot if we had a firm spending cap that forced the government to prioritize and downsize.

ninjapirate on October 21, 2011 at 3:51 PM

I’d say this was a really dumb line of attack, but thinking back to the McCain and his houses ad, it was effective.

cozmo on October 21, 2011 at 3:53 PM

More of you will come around in due time. Assimilation is inevitable.

Not if I buy a pop-up tent and overcome my bladder shyness.

Fallon on October 21, 2011 at 3:54 PM

it won’t work.

rob verdi on October 21, 2011 at 3:55 PM

And Romney will respond by attacking conservatives and agreeing with Obama.

2008 will be like 2012 with sadly, the same result for Obama.

This is exactly why I think it’s going to be Newt. He’s the only one who constantly attacks Obama and doesn’t really care about the demagoguery.

cpaulus on October 21, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Alternate headline…….

He’s not one of us…..he’s one of THEM!

PappyD61 on October 21, 2011 at 3:56 PM

A little disingenuous on its face, but good enough to capture the liberal mindless followers. But it’s really tiring watching the liberals try to confuse the unknowing by comparing income tax rates with capital gains rates earned by investors.

stacman on October 21, 2011 at 3:57 PM

GE paid nothing last year, and CEO Immelt is Obooba’s economic guru or something.

Wall St gave more money to Obooba than to any other candidate in 20 years, or to all the current GOP wannabees, combined.

Obooba cronies run half the firms that got porkulus money.

Blah yada blah yada blah.

None of that matters.

People are so stupid.

Akzed on October 21, 2011 at 3:57 PM

“What you’re seeing here isn’t part of any meaningful “solution” to the country’s budget crisis. It’s simple resentment aimed at getting the blue-collar voters they’ve alienated excited to turn out…”

Am I the only one noticing a complete lack of ads attacking Barack Hussein Obowma…?

Seven Percent Solution on October 21, 2011 at 3:59 PM

In other news: Obama raises more from Bain Capital than Romney. Abby Adams on October 21, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Oh my gosh thank you! The commies’ new ad is now completely worthless! Ha!

Die you commie scum!

Akzed on October 21, 2011 at 3:59 PM

None of that matters.

People are so stupid.

Akzed on October 21, 2011 at 3:57 PM

You are absolutely correct…

stacman on October 21, 2011 at 4:00 PM

It may be an effective way to ralley his Marxist base, but it’s not going to win him any Independants. Any Independant resentful of wealth is a closet lib who will vote for Obama regardless.

Meh on October 21, 2011 at 4:01 PM

But we were told that if Mittens were nominated, he wouldn’t be attacked at all. He’s so smart or something.

promachus on October 21, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Well – question here.

Romney’s “unemployed” – or so he says.

Which means – he has no corporation that he owns to hide money in – right?

HTF does he pay only 14%? Hell – I pay almost 30% between me and my wife’s income. We don’t own a company either.

I mean seriously … 14%? Is that a lie?

Well – that’s a good reason to VOTE PERRY then … because Perry’s “flat tax” is like 17% right?

So I guess if you want to raise taxes on Mitt Romney – and hell I’m all for it – then VOTE PERRY!

And before anyone jumps in and says it’s bad to raise MITT’s taxes because he’s the kind of guy that “creates jobs” and he’ll create fewer if we raise his taxes …

What jobs has he been creating? He’s unemployed!

HondaV65 on October 21, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Re: the screen shot – how much is Obama “worth”?

And I’m asking in dollars, not value as a human being. Ahem.

capitalist piglet on October 21, 2011 at 4:04 PM

The Rich.

It’s what’s for dinner!

Lily on October 21, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Didn’t the Obamas make 5 1/2 mil last year? They’re not exactly living in the poor house. And let’s not forget those lavish parties and vacations.

Doughboy on October 21, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Easily countered. Simply put Obama`s face next to a stack of cash with “X amount of millions” from Wall Street big shots……. Now run with it, I`m tired and have my own life to live. I can`t run the party all day, everyday! :-P

ThePrez on October 21, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Well – question here.

Romney’s “unemployed” – or so he says.

Which means – he has no corporation that he owns to hide money in – right?

HTF does he pay only 14%? Hell – I pay almost 30% between me and my wife’s income. We don’t own a company either.

I mean seriously … 14%? Is that a lie?

HondaV65 on October 21, 2011 at 4:03 PM

He pays 15% on capital gains as he sells stuff. Throw in some deductions like mortgage interest or even the standard deduction and the effective rate falls to 14.something which is rounded down to 14% for the ad.

angryed on October 21, 2011 at 4:09 PM

This is mild compared to the Kennedy ads of ’94. All they have to do is dust those ads off and re-label them. Just remember, the states where Mitt is strongest is where Obama is too, and they are suckers for class warfare.

cartooner on October 21, 2011 at 4:10 PM

this is why i want GINGRICH

guy can easily explain his personal baggage (i was a jerk to my exwife) and he’s sharp as a tack. he can even point to couch moments as trying to reach across the aisle, and talk about how the dems slapped him down.

newt is my new guy. why?

cain has underwhelemed.
perry is in a coma.
bachmann is insane.
romney is unelectable.
santorum brings teh gheys
huntsman needs to gain weight
paul is a crazy anti-semite
johnson is a nervous nellie
mccotter is already out
palin was never in
christie loves mecca
allen loves macaca
rudy loves rudy
fred loves naps
daniels is too short
ryan is too young

you know who is kicking himself for quitting early?

MIKE PENCE.

highway64 on October 21, 2011 at 4:10 PM

HTF does he pay only 14%?

It has something to do with charitable contributions. Those are tax deductible. If you increase your charitable contributions you can be in the same tax bracket as Romney.

hanzblinx on October 21, 2011 at 4:11 PM

Did you notice how the ad used his estimated net worth and then said he only paid 14% in taxes? His “net worth” would have nothing to with how much he paid in taxes (other than the amount of interest he is earning off of any money he has in a money market or savings account). In other words, the question is what was his income last year and what was his profit in capital gains–then you can see what the income tax was that he paid. If he didn’t make any normal income, then he would have no income tax burden. That would be similar to someone who is retired (except of course the government taxes their social security checks…). Additionally, the ad doesn’t tell us how much money “14%” of his income actually is, yet then tries to compare that percentage to real dollars of another family–which might amount to 1% or 2% of that family’s income.

What this ad tells me is that the creators are for a Flat tax or a Fair tax which has the same rate for both long term capital gains and ordinary income. That way “millionaires” (who make money in a year) will pay the same percentage (but more in terms of real dollars) as everyone else. Bring on tax reform!

Conservative in NOVA on October 21, 2011 at 4:11 PM

This line of thinking is seen on the right as well. How many times have you heard protests about congressional pay, benefits, retirement from the right? Well, guys worth $250M is all you’d get in congress if you reduced pay/benefits/retirement from congresscritters. They would be the only ones able to afford to be congresscritters. Nobody making $75K a year in their day job will quit to become a house rep if the salary for a rep is $50K a year with no retirement package.

angryed on October 21, 2011 at 4:12 PM

I think it’s a pretty good line of attack as it draws attention to blue-collar Obama who’s just like you and me. At the end of the day, he kicks back and brews his own beer enjoys a cold Budweisser with with his Wagyu steak and arugula greens Ramen noodles and balogna sandwich after a long day of golf working in the factory as he blows lavish amounts of money scrimps and saves to to slip away to exclusive resorts and exotic locales some local getaway every month or so once in a blue moon.

BlueCollarAstronaut on October 21, 2011 at 4:13 PM

What jobs has he been creating? He’s unemployed!

HondaV65 on October 21, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Campaign manager, communications director, state campaign chairmen, army of go’fers, sound and video men, security guys……

cartooner on October 21, 2011 at 4:13 PM

you know who is kicking himself for quitting early?

MIKE PENCE.

highway64 on October 21, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Gingrich/Pence wouldn’t be a bad ticket. Make Ryan speaker of the House.

cpaulus on October 21, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Fully 52 percent of tea partiers already say they’ll vote for him if he’s the nominee. More of you will come around in due time. Assimilation is inevitable.

Of course, if anyone who refuses to back a socialized medicine chamption is labeled an Obama supporter and traitor. Hysterical demogoguery is not confined to the Left.

MadisonConservative on October 21, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Or the fact that it reminds us we’ll be spending most of 2012, in all likelihood, doggedly riding to the defense of … Mitt Romney?

I won’t. I’ll be doggedly riding to the offense against Obama, but… not Mitt’s defense.

Assimilation is inevitable.

No; no, it isn’t.

Midas on October 21, 2011 at 4:16 PM

In other news:

Obama raises more from Bain Capital than Romney.

Abby Adams on October 21, 2011 at 3:55 PM

My head just popped trying to figure out how many ways that could be spun.

MadisonConservative on October 21, 2011 at 4:17 PM

***

HTF does he pay only 14%? Hell – I pay almost 30% between me and my wife’s income. We don’t own a company either.

***

HondaV65 on October 21, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Easy. Think about it. Romney is likely making little or no salary, which would be taxed at the highest rate. Rental income, which I bet he has, and royalties (books and the like) would be taxed at the highest rate. But the overwhelming amount of his income comes from income (dividends and long-term capital gains) that are taxed at no higher than 15%. I’ll bet his itemized deductions are huge–state income tax paid, real estate taxes, mortgage interest, and charitable contributions. His situation is probably much like that of Warren Buffett.

BuckeyeSam on October 21, 2011 at 4:17 PM

I won.t work!

It. Can’t. Work.

Right?

milemarker2020 on October 21, 2011 at 4:20 PM

More of you will come around in due time. Assimilation is inevitable.

It’s true. If you can bring yourself, as a Republican, to vote for John McCain, who CAN’T you vote for?

athenanyc on October 21, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Believe it or not, the Obama angle is still race related.

He is not a rich white boy who has inherited his money. Obama is a street smart black man. Obama is tough enough to do what he has to do. Obama took out BenLaden and Gadafy. Obama can take surplus money from the super rich which would be fair and give it to the unemployed.

This meme will make Obama into a sympathetic figure again.

What can we beat that with?

I have an idea. And it’s not Mitt the weasel.It’s a real man that voters believe will shoot straight with them about businesses creating jobs again.

jimw on October 21, 2011 at 4:20 PM

I’m doing everything I can to keep Romney from being the nominee, including spending lots of money. I have skin in the game.

But I also don’t like these attacks from the left on him, and if they continue, I’ll find myself reluctantly sticking up for him against this crap.

juliesa on October 21, 2011 at 4:24 PM

More of you will come around in due time. Assimilation is inevitable.

The perpetual crux of the RINO case.

But it’s a real bad bet this time around.

rrpjr on October 21, 2011 at 4:25 PM

To all you prone to envy:

Exodus 20:17 – You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife… his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

So the OWS dweebs and all like-minded supporters are really not only violating the 10th commandment (not that they care) but are openly advocating for it. Our illustrious president seems to violate it and advocate for it nearly every day. I don’t understand how anyone raised in a Judeo-Christian environment could get so confused about wealth. Stealing and envy are wrong. Robbing from the rich to give to the poor could maybe be justified when the rich built their fortunes by enslaving the poor, but today Robin Hood would just be another whining slacker. Mitt and most “rich” actually did something to get rich. And so can you…just look at Cain.

BillyWilly on October 21, 2011 at 4:27 PM

I can see the Obama slogan now: “Obama: The Middle-Class Romney.”

If Romney were an awesome conservative, I’d be happy to defend him. Unfortunately, he’s not, and he looks to the country like a guy collecting investment income who’s standing by the tennis court of his exclusive country club, wearing a sweater tied around his neck, waiting for his doubles match to begin.

If Romney’s the nominee, he d*mn well better know how many homes he and his wife own and by what legal arrangements (revocable trust, irrevocable trust, limited liability company, jointly, or individually) they own them.

BuckeyeSam on October 21, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Fully 52 percent of tea partiers already say they’ll vote for him if he’s the nominee. More of you will come around in due time. Assimilation is inevitable.

WHEN and IF Romney is the nominee, I’ll vote for him. But that would be more of a vote against 0bama than a vote for Romney.

For now, I’m supporting Cain.

UltimateBob on October 21, 2011 at 4:27 PM

If Mitt’s the nominee, his first response to a question about his homes should be as follows.

“Can you explain to me how President Obama’s seller knocked off $300K of his selling price to the Obamas in a seller’s market five or six years ago? And can you tell me my President Obama paid Tony Rezko’s wife $104,500 for a sliver of land that President Obama had appraised at $40,500? Think that through and get back to me.”

BuckeyeSam on October 21, 2011 at 4:31 PM

Utterly predictable. These tools need a new playbook. I HATE this line of attack…especially considering Obama and recent Dem tickets weren’t exactly living in the poor house. Such an effin joke.

changer1701 on October 21, 2011 at 4:32 PM

If Romney is the nominee, here is the choice conservatives will have to weigh–will it be more satisfying to:

a) punish the rino establishment by losing (I only think this would be helpful if a loss would prevent them from doing this again. As 2008 already showed us, it will not)
b) sit back and watch Barack and Moochelle pack their $hit and head back to Chigago in disgrace after a single term.

I have to admit, I think b would be more satisfying. For anyone on the fence, here are two additional data points to consider:

1) Mitt does not hate America
2) Mitt does not hate business

All that said, lets just make sure he isn’t the nominee.

Meh on October 21, 2011 at 4:33 PM

highway64 on October 21, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Nice list. It made me laugh and then cry…

Fallon on October 21, 2011 at 4:35 PM

More of you will come around in due time. Assimilation is inevitable.

It’s true. If you can bring yourself, as a Republican, to vote for John McCain, who CAN’T you vote for?

athenanyc on October 21, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Another interesting dynamic going on here, since a campaign doesn’t bother with attacking anyone whom it doesn’t view as a threat.

whatcat on October 21, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Assimilation is inevitable.
Obama or Romney, the outcome is the same, only the methodlogy is different. One throws you down on the bed and calls you dirty names as you get man handled, the other lights up a ciggarette afterwards and calls you darling.

paulsur on October 21, 2011 at 4:46 PM

“Hi. I’m Nit Romney and I’m having fun running for President.” Hm, what have we here? Nothing, tralala.

maverick muse on October 21, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Obama will be worth as much as Romney in less than 10 years…

“COUNT IT!”
/crr6

Khun Joe on October 21, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Look people can close their eyes, put their finger in their ears and scream over and over again that “assimilation is inevitable” or Romney is the most electable, but it doesn’t make it so.

Romney will not only lose, but my biggest fear is that control of the Senate will be lost with him. Will Romney pick up some independent votes…yes. But whether I like it or not, whether I think it is irresponsible or not, he is going to lose the same amount of Christian and conservative votes. Add to it that this is not just Romney, but he will be carrying the weight of John McCain from the last election. You tend to eat sh** once if forced, but it’s not so assimilating the second time around. The moment Mitt Romney becomes our nominee our enthusiasm gap will be washed away. Try winning these close Senate seats without enthusiasm for the top of the ticket.

jmell7 on October 21, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Another interesting dynamic going on here, since a campaign doesn’t bother with attacking anyone whom it doesn’t view as a threat.

whatcat on October 21, 2011 at 4:37 PM

True. Or at least the most likely opponent.

Romney v. Obama would not be the most exciting debate to watch, but I do think Romney would come across better.

athenanyc on October 21, 2011 at 5:04 PM

You tend to eat sh** once if forced, but it’s not so assimilating the second time around.
jmell7 on October 21, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Totally, totally agree. We should not have to settle. But where is the candidate who does not require settling in some way? Perry is just as weak as Romney in that regard, only in different ways.

athenanyc on October 21, 2011 at 5:07 PM

But where is the candidate who does not require settling in some way? Perry is just as weak as Romney in that regard, only in different ways.

And I agree also. There is no perfect candidate. Perry would get killed in a debate with Obama. All others have their flaws as well. But to think all will be well if Romney gets the nomination belies all facts. I really don’t see it this time around after McCain being forced upon conservatives. I truly believe they will defeat us on the enthusiasm gap as people just decide to sit it out.

jmell7 on October 21, 2011 at 5:17 PM

But to think all will be well if Romney gets the nomination belies all facts. I really don’t see it this time around after McCain being forced upon conservatives. I truly believe they will defeat us on the enthusiasm gap as people just decide to sit it out.

jmell7 on October 21, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Yeah, I don’t think all will be well if Romney gets the nomination. (Un)fortunately, I don’t think who we nominate matters much in terms of our likelihood of winning. We could have a great candidate or a terrible one and the media will just go after them and tear them down. I think that the nomination will have way more to do with whether or not people want another term of Obama than whether or not they want fill-in-the-blank Republican candidate to win. If the election were today, any one of these people could beat Obama. This is not to say it doesn’t in any way matter who we nominate. I think we should nominate the best possible leader. I’m at a loss as to who that is, but I know it’s not Perry. Romney at least sounds competent. Gingrich has the brains, but his support for the individual mandate and global warming scam is pretty inexcusable. Plus it’s hard for me to square leadership and integrity with his absolutely disgusting personal history. Cain? Bachmann? Santorum? I just don’t know.

athenanyc on October 21, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Mitt Romney becomes our nominee our enthusiasm gap will be washed away.

jmell7 on October 21, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Are you soothed now? I hope so because the polling shows that your whining diatribe is just your own imagination.

csdeven on October 21, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Romney’s response should be:

“Hell yes, I’m rich. I want EVERYBODY to be rich. Let’s create an economy where everyone who wants to be wealthy can work hard and do it.”

VastRightWingConspirator on October 21, 2011 at 6:09 PM

I don’t know if Flipper Romney is electable or not. Two things I know for certain: I won’t vote for him. I won’t defend him.

SurferDoc on October 21, 2011 at 7:01 PM

AP said: It’s simple resentment aimed at getting the blue-collar voters they’ve alienated excited to turn out.

We need to keep in mind that everything B.O. does is calculated and it’s all about him. This ad is not about Romney per se, Romney is the tool for the moment. The ad is not directed toward Republicans.

This ad is directed toward his base, a get out the vote. That’s all it is, just as AP said.

B.O. knows the R’s and everyone that can vote in the General will vote against him, no matter who the R nominee is.

bluefox on October 21, 2011 at 7:58 PM

The group responsible for this Occupy-esque populist pander is Priorities USA, which was founded by former White House staffers Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney. Which means, if you’re wondering how the Plouffe/Axelrod brain trust is planning to target Romney in a general election campaign, you need wonder no longer.

The subtext of this “ad” seems to be that those who wrote and produced it want Mitt Romney’s wealth. In other words, it’s an ad of jealousy, espousing resentment, yes, while more intensely bespeaking of possessiveness and greed by those who wrote the ad.

In the case of Bill Burton, Sweeney, Axelrod, all involved, I’d say that pretty much sums up their pathology.

So it isn’t so much “about Romney” as it is about their own states of mind, their own greed, jealousy, possessiveness, and implied threat of taking resources from others to satiate themselves.

This subtext will be overlooked by their target audience, since the appeal is aimed at similarly jealous, resentful individuals — Bill Burton’s specialty, being the small-minded, petty, insincere and rude person he is.

Lourdes on October 21, 2011 at 9:27 PM

Next round of ads from this mean-spirited crew pushing Obama:

“Your Mom’s basement isn’t comfortable enough — demand that she redecorate it for you before next week…or sufffferrrr the consequencessssss.”

Lourdes on October 21, 2011 at 9:29 PM

This is mild compared to the Kennedy ads of ’94. All they have to do is dust those ads off and re-label them. Just remember, the states where Mitt is strongest is where Obama is too, and they are suckers for class warfare.

cartooner on October 21, 2011 at 4:10 PM

In which case, what’s needed are a spate of ads that feature Obama and Michelle (draped in her diamonds) eating it up, lying around on recurring vacations, golfing, partying, being driven and all on the taxpayers, with giant piles of cash floating in from Wall Street and “corporations”/donors. I’d say a voice-over repeating the word, “you’re paying for this, and for this, and you’re paying for this, and this and for this, and, oh, when was your last luxury vacation?”

Lourdes on October 21, 2011 at 9:34 PM

This is mild compared to the Kennedy ads of ’94. All they have to do is dust those ads off and re-label them. Just remember, the states where Mitt is strongest is where Obama is too, and they are suckers for class warfare.

cartooner on October 21, 2011 at 4:10 PM

I also think a few ads featuring Obama doing his community-organizing in Africa with the megaphone harping about the joys of communism would be a really useful thing to impress upon those concerned about “class warfare.”

Lourdes on October 21, 2011 at 9:36 PM

From 2009, but perhaps this conveys the reality of the ad’s utterly decrepit hypocrisy:

White House wealth: President Barack Obama’s team virtually all Chicago millionaires
April 09, 2009

When President Barack Obama moved into the White House earlier this year, he took several of his fellow Chicago millionaires with him.

Newly released disclosure reports show virtually all of the top Chicagoans serving in the West Wing had assets valued at a million dollars or more at the end of 2008.

In several cases, the reports provide the first detailed look at the finances of some of the president’s top aides and friends from Chicago who have risen with him. They also show the salary haircut many have taken to be in the White House, at least until they return to the private sector.

Some of the wealth can be attributed to the fact that the top staff members surrounding Obama — such as Chicagoans Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett — are from a big city where salaries tend to be higher. Many of the comparable senior staffers with the previous two presidents came from Austin, Texas, and Little Rock, Ark., where salaries for top professionals tend to be the lower than in Chicago.

In contrast to his senior staff, Obama’s Cabinet tends to have fewer high-net-worth people. That group includes former senators, governors and others who have spent much of their careers working in the lower-paying public sector.

Like those of his predecessors, Obama’s top staff tends toward seasoned professionals, people who have moved up in their respective fields and found private sector wealth. The Tribune’s review focused on Chicagoans serving in senior White House jobs.

Obama’s personal wealth soared in the past decade. His annual household income fluctuated in the range of about $250,000 during the first half of this decade, before his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and millions in book royalties and advances that started rolling in during 2005.

Leading the Chicago pack in investment portfolio size is Emanuel. The White House chief of staff reported 2008 investment income of at least $168,107 on a portfolio worth between $4.5 million and $11million.

The disclosures, required of senior and deputy-level aides each year, were made public over the weekend. They allow individuals to report across a broad range in values for each investment and corresponding investment income, using categories such as $500,001 to $1 million, so it is impossible to know exact figures.

After leaving the Clinton White House — and before running for Congress from Chicago’s North Side — Emanuel made more than $16million in 21/2 years as an investment banker.

Many of his investments are now in municipal bonds, a favored choice of the wealthy because their interest is tax-exempt. Emanuel has dozens of the bonds, whose issuers range from McHenry County to the Northeast Nebraska Solid Waste Coalition.

Chiefs of staff tend to have some wealth, often because they are Washington veterans or have some chief executive experience in business.

Andy Card, for example, the first chief of staff to former President George W. Bush, had worked for General Motors Corp. before moving to the White House. He listed assets worth at least $1.1 million on the first financial disclosure form that he filed in 2001.

White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, a longtime Obama family friend from Chicago, reported $1.8million in salary from Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, where she left as president during the middle of 2008.

Rogers also earned $350,000 in salary in 2008 from Allstate Insurance Co., where she was working on a financial social networking program before leaving for Washington. Her service on two corporate boards, Equity Residential and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, netted her another $170,000. She listed stocks, mutual funds and other investments worth at least $2.1million.

Rogers was once married to millionaire and Chicago financier John Rogers, the head of Ariel Capital Management and another close Obama friend and fundraiser.

Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama, reported a money market fund holding between $1 million and $5 million.

Since moving to the White House, Jarrett has resigned her position as chief executive of Habitat Co., one of the Midwest’s largest property-management firms.

Her report shows she earned $550,000 in deferred compensation from Habitat Executive Services, plus a salary of $302,000 in 2008.

She also reported $346,687 in income from serving on seven boards, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Jarrett’s most lucrative fee as a director was $146,643 from Chicago-based USG Corp., a building products maker.

Jarrett is also still receiving compensation from the Chicago Transit Authority, where she was Mayor Richard Daley’s handpicked chairwoman from 1995 to 2003. She estimated $35,559 in deferred compensation as part of the CTA’s supplemental retirement plan.

For Axelrod, the disclosures also made clear the value of a political consulting firm he built from the ground up starting in 1985, an asset that gained value because of Obama’s success.

The senior adviser to the president sold his stake in two firms for $3 million before he moved to the White House in January. Although he no longer has direct financial ties to the companies, he will receive installment payments for his shares over five years.

AKP&D Message and Media was sold for $2 million to John Kupper, John Del Cecato and Larry Grisolano. He also sold his interest in ASK Public Strategies, a firm that has done public policy issue campaigns for such entities as the Chicago 2016 Committee, Commonwealth Edison Co. and the University of Chicago Medical Center, where Michelle Obama worked as an executive.

Axelrod, who worked almost exclusively on Obama’s campaign in 2008, collected a salary of roughly $1.5 million from his two firms. His investments, meanwhile, showed a valuation of at least $3.8 million.

The person most equivalent to Axelrod in the Bush White House was top political adviser Karl Rove, who listed at least $2.3 million in stocks, bonds, cash and other assets in 2001.

Another Chicagoan, Christina Tchen, left a lucrative legal career to become the director of Obama’s Office of Public Liaison. Her disclosure shows she made $2.2 million last year as a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

- – - Other senior staffers from Obama’s Chicago connections

Christina Tchen left a lucrative legal career to become director of the White House’s Office of Public Liaison. She made $2.2 million last year in Chicago as a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Susan Sher, an associate White House counsel, was paid $718,477 in 2008 by the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she was a vice president.

Austan Goolsbee, now the chief economist for the newly created President’s Economic Recovery Board and a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, was paid $465,000 by the University of Chicago in 2008.

Lourdes on October 21, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Mitt Romney campaign to Tea Partiers:

We are the Borg Romney. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.

bitsy on October 21, 2011 at 10:45 PM

Proposed bumper sticker: Rommey’s worth 250 million. Obama’s worth less.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on October 21, 2011 at 11:20 PM

Oops. Let’s try again. Proposed bumper sticker: Romney’s worth 250 million. Obama’s worth less.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on October 21, 2011 at 11:20 PM

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on October 21, 2011 at 11:25 PM

I won’t vote for him. I won’t defend him.

SurferDoc on October 21, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Oh goodie, another one! Please send us a picture of you hacking your nose off to spite America! We need the laughs.

csdeven on October 21, 2011 at 11:44 PM

A poor person no longer can become rich someday in America. Now, Obama is telling us you are evil if you even dream of becoming rich.

That man is evil personified.
{^_^}

herself on October 22, 2011 at 3:49 AM

I’d like Politifact to score that ad, because I’m pretty sure it would get a pants on fire rating.

Seixon on October 22, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Does this mean they are going after people like Al Gore, Bill Clinton…
and occupy supporters like Russell Simmons and Kanye West?
Multi-millionaires who try hard to avoid paying any taxes at all?
Gore by hiding his wealth in non-profits and foundations?

PhilipJames on October 22, 2011 at 5:06 PM