• Switzerland edition
 
Bern upset by 'Romney Girl' video
YouTube Screenshot

Bern upset by 'Romney Girl' video

Published: 22 Aug 2012 08:26 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Aug 2012 08:26 GMT+02:00

The satirical YouTube video features a plaited blonde dressed like a scantily-clad Heidi who sings about how great Romney’s life is, replete with tax shelters and all the trappings of being super-rich — fur coats, hot tubs and luxury sports cars.

“I’m a Romney girl, in a Romney world,” the woman sings to the tune of “Barbie Girl," while cavorting with an actor playing the Republican candidate.

“Life is taxless. It’s fantastic.”

The song’s allusions to Switzerland as a place where rich people escape paying taxes has riled Presence Switzerland, a part of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, which aims to foster a positive image of the country.

The three-minute 'Romney Girl’ video, launched earlier this month, is the latest American political ad to sully the Swiss as aiders and abettors of tax evasion.

“Our ambassador has signalled to the campaign staff of (President) Obama that the Swiss government has little appreciation for the use of these clichés far removed from a country that fights with energy against the presence of non-taxed money in the heart of its financial sector,” said Nicolas Bideau, head of Presence Switzerland.

He was quoted in a report carried by various newspapers in the Edipresse chain, including Le Matin and the Tribune de Genève.

While concerned about the image such videos present, Bideau said the government did not plan to make a formal intervention over the issue.

“It would be inappropriate to take a position in the context of a presidential campaign,” he said.

In fact, the video did not officially come from the Obama campaign, which is making an issue over Romney’s failure to disclose income tax returns.

It was financed by the Agenda Project/Action Fund, which calls itself a “progressive policy organization dedicated to ensuring that public officials — and the policies they implement — serve regular Americans”.

Eric Payne, president of the fund, said the goal of the light-hearted video is to “spark people’s interest  in understanding more about (Romney’s) taxes", according to a report from ABC News.

The song takes a jab at the Republican candidate for his estimated net worth of $255 million and suggests that his life is just one long party, in contrast to the life of many suffering Americans.

“Silver-tip your hair, tax shelters everywhere, outsource nation, Bain is his creation,” sings the Swiss Miss who jumps into a red convertible driven by the Romney character and asks him if he has “something to hide”.

Romney was a founder of Bain Capital, an investment company that has been criticized for creating wealth by buying up companies and laying off workers, while his personal use of offshore bank accounts has also fueled debate.

Switzerland is referenced in the video as one of several tax havens.

The video is backed up by a RomneyGirl.org website, which gives a fictitious biography of “Miss Swiss Bank Account”, saying she hails from Ostermundigen and is the “proud daughter of a Nestlé chocolate factory worker”.

Among things, she is described as a former tax consultant of offshore bank accounts at UBS in Geneva, where she first “met” Romney.  

Bideau said the video employed “hackneyed clichés” that have been regularly used by Hollywood for decades, playing on banking secrecy and other stereotypes.

But overall, he maintained, Switzerland has an “excellent image” in the US as a country with a high quality of life, a strong and varied export industry and “direct democracy (through referendums) which greatly impresses Americans”.

Still, in view of the negative publicity surrounding tax evasion in the US and Germany, the Swiss federal government decided in June to boost its public relations and lobbying efforts in those countries through Presence Switzerland.

The department has also embarked on an “issues monitoring” process which involves monitoring foreign press reports on subjects liable to harm Switzerland’s image. 

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
EU rejects Swiss bid to rejig free movement deal
EU headquarters in Brussels. Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP

EU rejects Swiss bid to rejig free movement deal

The European Union on Thursday formally rejected Switzerland's request to renegotiate their freedom of movement accord so as to take into account a Swiss vote earlier this year to limit immigration, EU sources said. READ  

Strong franc eats into Roche first-half profits
Photo: Roche

Strong franc eats into Roche first-half profits

Pharmaceutical giant Roche on Thursday said its first-half profit fell by seven percent to 5.6 billion francs ($6.2 billion), hit by the strength of Switzerland's currency. READ  

Residents flee as river Emme floods village
Rega helped evacuate homes in the area. Photo: Rega

Residents flee as river Emme floods village

Rega, the Swiss air-ambulance service, evacuated residents of Schangnau in the canton of Bern on Thursday morning as the river Emme broke its banks. READ  

Students race futuristic boats in Lausanne
Students must design a boat that can travel the furthest distance using the least energy. Photo: Hydros

Students race futuristic boats in Lausanne

More than 100 students from six countries are competing in an eco-friendly boat-building competition on Dorigny beach in Lausanne this week. READ  

'Scandalous' car park delays rile festivalgoers
Stromae performed on Wednesday night. Photo: Paleo/Lionel Flusin

'Scandalous' car park delays rile festivalgoers

Festivalgoers attending Nyon’s Paléo festival have reacted in anger after bad weather created long delays to exit car parks on Wednesday night. READ  

Monaco grabs quarter- final place in Gstaad
The Swiss Open at Gstaad takes place at 1,010m. Photo: Alain Grosclaude/AFP

Monaco grabs quarter- final place in Gstaad

Juan Monaco held his nerve in a tight final set to upset third seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 on Wednesday for a second consecutive place in a quarter-final at the Swiss Open. READ  

UBS 'to pay French $1.5 billion over tax evasion'
Photo: Martin Abegglen

UBS 'to pay French $1.5 billion over tax evasion'

Swiss bank UBS was on Wednesday charged with tax fraud in Paris for allegedly helping rich French clients to hide money in Switzerland, a judicial source said. READ  

Renewable energy activities hit ABB results
Photo: Roland Zh

Renewable energy activities hit ABB results

Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB said its profits fell in the second quarter, pulled down by renewable energy activities, despite strong orders, particularly in North America. READ  

Red Cross officially declares Ukraine civil war

The Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday that it considered Ukraine to be in a state of civil war, urging both sides to respect the laws of conflict as civilians bear the brunt. READ  

Israel's actions 'may be war crimes': Pillay
Navi Pillay. Photo: UNHCR

Israel's actions 'may be war crimes': Pillay

Israel's military actions in the Gaza Strip could amount to war crimes, UN rights chief Navi Pillay said in Geneva on Wednesday, while also condemning indiscriminate rocket attacks by Palestinian militants Hamas. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Tech
Hackers exploit 'holes' in Swiss online banking systems: IT experts
Sport
Video of Bern football player's spectacular own goal goes global
Tech
Switzerland stays on top of innovation rankings for fourth year
National
Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn play tennis at Jungfraujoch (VIDEOS)
Business & Money
Competition commission launches probe into Swiss car leasing 'fiddle'
Health
Down's syndrome cases in Switzerland more than double
National
American family files hefty lawsuit over deadly Swiss balloon crash
Features
Graubünden's panoramic Bernina Express celebrates rail history
National
Study rates Zurich as world's fifth most expensive city for expats
National
Swiss-based human brain project directors hit back at research critics
Business & Money
Switzerland gets the edge on EU with China free trade agreement
National
Entries for new Swiss national anthem competition swell over 200
National
Zurich-based helicopter firm denies role in Schumacher medical leak
Culture
Montreux Jazz Festival debuts live internet streaming of concerts
Features
Tour of Bern’s historic fountains tells story of Switzerland's capital
National
Swiss media lament football team's 'cruel' and 'bitter' defeat
International
The Local expands its reach with the launch of new website in Denmark
Sport
Jubilant press hails hat-trick hero Shaqiri as 'Swiss Messi'
National
New website study reveals inequality in Swiss disposable income
Travel
Switzerland’s largest ski area 4-Vallées breaks up over lift dispute
National
VIDEO: Zurich Zoo launches contest to name newborn baby elephant
Business & Money
CEO-to-worker pay gap grows at biggest Swiss firms: union study
Culture
VIDEO: Swiss performance artist plans naked stroll at Art Basel
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,186
jobs available