In actuality, in 2010, the former governor made $21.6 million and
paid 13.9 percent in taxes.
â€śI wonâ€™t apologize for being successful,â€ť Romney
said during a recent debate.
While the average tax rate for Americans is
11 percent, the average tax rate for the wealthiest filers in 2009 was
â€śMitt Romney prides himself on being a great businessman,â€ť
said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina after the South Carolina primary. â€śBut the American people arenâ€™t buying what heâ€™s selling.â€ť
Still, a recent
national average poll had Obama and Romney neck-in-neck, with the presidentâ€™s 47 percent of support to Romneyâ€™s 42 percent.
The former governorâ€™s business background seems to be just enough of a threat to court independent voters.
"We need somebody to run the country - not somebody who's just a politician,â€ť
said Ken Shaw, a Romney supporter.
Gingrich, whose sharp rhetoric helped him to win the South Carolina primary, is Romneyâ€™s chief rival for the Republican nomination.
The former speaker is trying to push back charges that he was a lobbyist for the quasi-government housing agency Freddie Mac.
His Republican rivals say he collected nearly
$1.6 million for lobbying, or as they call it, â€śinfluence peddlingâ€ť to the agency in 2006.
â€śThese government sponsored entities in the case of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are a large reason why our housing crisis has occurred. And Iâ€™m running against a guy, as you know, in this primary, who was out working for these guys, for Freddie Mac,â€ť
said Romney on the campaign trail in Florida.
Gingrich called it consulting, but was recently opted to release his Freddie Mac contract in hopes of quieting the conversation.
â€śI offer strategic advice for a lot of different companiesâ€¦ I did no lobbying of any kind,â€ť he
said in defense of the charges.
It all seems relevant as the two men try to one-up each other in Florida, where, like the rest of the nation, is mired in deep unemployment. Almost
ten percent of Floridians are jobless and more than
40 percent of people owe money on their mortgaged properties.
Obama recently visited the state to tout the administrationâ€™s strategy to boost tourism. â€śAmerica is open for business,â€ť he
said at Disney Worldâ€™s Magic Kingdom.
Before he got off Air Force One, he was met with a
web ad paid for by the Romney camp largely blaming the presidentâ€™s policies for Floridaâ€™s unemployment and foreclosure problems.
â€śThings arenâ€™t working, and weâ€™re scraping by,â€ť the ad says.