Nice move by the Obama campaign. To address Romney's claim that if he releases any tax returns, the opposition will only ask for more and more, OFA campaign manager Jim Messina has made the following pledge:
I am prepared to provide assurances on just that point: if the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more--neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign.Full text of his statement after the jump.
I am writing to ask again that the Governor release multiple years of tax returns, but also to make an offer that should address his concerns about the additional disclosures. Governor Romney apparently fears that the more he offers, the more our campaign will demand that he provide. So I am prepared to provide assurances on just that point: if the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more--neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign.This pledge should throw the spotlight back on Romney and remove one of the only reasons he's given for not releasing the returns.
This request for the release of five years, covering the complete returns for 2007-2012, is surely not unreasonable. Other Presidential candidates have released more, including the Governor's father who provided 12 years of returns. In the Governor's case, a five year release would appropriately span all the years that he has been a candidate for President. It would also help answer outstanding questions raised by the one return he has released to date, such as the range in the effective rates paid, the foreign accounts maintained, the foreign investments made, and the types of tax shelters used.
To provide these five years, the Governor would have to release only three more sets of returns in addition to the 2010 return he has released and the 2011 return he has pledged to provide. And, I repeat, the Governor and his campaign can expect in return that we will refrain from questioning whether he has released enough or pressing for more.
I look forward to your reply.
Obama for America Campaign Manager
Take away the "they'll just want more" argument and all he's left with is the "they'll use what they find against me," which is essentially an admission of guilt.
And best yet, this could put the tax return story right back on the front burner (something Mitt and Ann surprisingly did themselves already).
Romney's campaign has responded, predictably declining to release any more tax returns:
It is clear that President Obama wants nothing more than to talk about Governor Romney’s tax returns instead of the issues that matter to voters, like putting Americans back to work, fixing the economy and reining in spending.You have to love that this piece of trash highlights two of the central lies of his campaign (work in welfare and saving Medicare) in his response.
If Governor Romney’s tax returns are the core message of your campaign, there will be ample time for President Obama to discuss them over the next 81 days. In the meantime, Governor Romney will continue to lay out his plans for a stronger middle class, to save Medicare, to put work back into welfare, and help the 23 million Americans struggling to find work in the Obama economy.
See you in Denver.
It gets into why Mitt's continued evasion on this topic only feeds the suspicion of the press, keeping it in the headlines day after day:
...the Obama campaign is giving the media another reason to ask Romney even more questions. And short of just releasing his returns (and dealing with whatever new questions the details of those returns raise), there’s nothing that Romney can say or do that will make reporters say, “OK, we’ve exhausted this one. There’s nothing more to this story.”
To the press, Romney’s refusal to release any more information is genuinely suspicious. There’s got to be something in there that he’s embarrassed about. And his attempts at evasion leave reporters feeling as if they’re being played. Thus, it doesn’t take much for the story to flare up, again and again.