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Romney: Panama!

Cue the Van Halen song…

The LA Times: “When Mitt Romney launched Bain Capital in 1984, he struggled at first to raise enough money for the untested venture. Old-money families like the Rothschilds turned down the young Boston consultant. So he and his partners tapped an eclectic roster of investors, raising more than a third of their first $37-million investment fund from wealthy foreigners. Most of the foreign investors' money came through corporations registered in Panama, then known for tax advantages and unusual banking secrecy.”

“Mitt Romney's wife is reinforcing her husband's refusal to make public several years of tax returns, saying ‘we've given all you need to know’ about the family's finances,” AP writes. Ann Romney tells ABC News she thinks the Obama campaign's attacks on her husband have been ‘beneath the dignity of the presidency.’ And she says people will decide whom to vote for based on whether their lives would be better under Mitt Romney than President Barack Obama. She says that ultimately she believes voters are ‘going to fire the coach.’”

Romney has a web video that edits President Obama’s remarks that the campaign is focusing on – that if you have a business, “you didn’t build that.” That ad, called “These Hands,” features a New Hampshire metal fabrication company owner named, Jack Gilchrist, who says the president is “killin’ us out here.”

Gilchrist isn't an undecided, non-political New Hampshire business owner. Romney held an event at his company earlier this year and while there, Gilchrist spoke to the crowd and declared he was suffering from "Obama Trauma.” Gilchrist told The New Republic last month: “We need somebody taking responsibility. I’m a business leader. I’ve got 38 employees and I don’t blame anybody else for my friggin’ problems.”

NPR takes a look at questions tax professionals are raising about Romney’s finances, in particular his tax-deferred retirement accounts. Individuals are only allowed to contribute $30,000 a year to those accounts, but Romney’s amassed between $21 million and $102 million in them. “Romney might have loaded up his retirement account with assets from his private equity firm, Bain Capital, and assigned artificially low values to those assets in order to get around the federal contribution limits,” NPR reports. “If so, Romney would still have to pay taxes on the real value of the assets when they're withdrawn from the account. But in the meantime, the money can grow tax free. Tax Notes' Sheppard says that's an advantage most taxpayers don't have.”

And NPR draws a line to Romney’s time at Marriott. Law professor Ed Kleinbard of the University of Southern California, “who worked on Wall Street and served as chief of staff for Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation, says Marriott had a reputation.” He said, “Marriott was always a tax shelter promoter's first call," he says. "Marriott was one of those companies that just loved to buy tax shelters."

And: “Bloomberg reported this year on one Marriott tax shelter, known as "Son of BOSS." It involved creating paper losses to offset taxes on real income. The Internal Revenue Service challenged the shelter and Marriott lost in court. Judges called the shelter "fictitious" and a "scheme," and the company was forced to pay $29 million.”

The chair of Marriott’s audit committee at the time that shelter was adopted – Mitt Romney.

“Mitt Romney wasted no time telling a woman at an Ohio town hall meeting he disagreed with her characterization of President Obama as a ‘monster,’” USA Today writes, adding, “By publicly disagreeing with the potential voter, Romney avoided repeating an incident in May where a questioner remarked that the president should be ‘tried for treason.’”

The exchange: The woman said of Obama: "He's had to lay off people, and he may have to close some stores, and it's all because of what this monster has done to this country.”

Romney: "That's not a term I would use."

“The self-proclaimed ‘Toughest Sheriff in America’ is facing one of his toughest tests. A trial begins Thursday morning in Phoenix accusing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of violating the civil rights of Latino citizens and legal U.S. residents,” NPR reports. “The class-action civil suit says the sheriff went over the line in his efforts to crack down on illegal immigration.”

“An NAACP official says Mitt Romney’s campaign brought its own black supporters to the civil rights group’s convention last week to give him the appearance of a cheering section,” the New York Daily News writes. “Hilary Shelton, who runs the NAACP’s Washington office, said the campaign gave him a list of African-American ‘VIPs’ who were flown in to meet with Romney and provide a show of support.

“We were aware that they had people brought in specifically for the campaign,’ Shelton told MSNBC.”