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Yesterday, former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt rebutted the insinuation that Mitt Romney's tax returns cost him the vice presidential selection by saying that it was Romney's wealth, not his tax returns, that cost him the job. But while Schmidt was clearly trying to suggest that Romney's returns are clean, by the end of the day, he acknowledged that he'd never actually seen them.

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: So, Steve, we have to go straight to you -- 23 years of tax returns handed over in the vetting of a possible vice presidential candidacy for Mitt Romney. Did you see those tax returns or who at the campaign did see those tax returns?

STEVE SCHMIDT: No, I never saw the tax returns, Lawrence. They would have been seen by A.B. Culvahouse and Rick Davis who ran the vetting operation for Senator McCain in that campaign.

But certainly, there was nothing, as we talked about Mitt Romney, seriously, as a vice presidential candidate, as a team. We never talked about -- there was no indication that there were any problems with the taxes. But I don't know the specifics of them.

I'm inclined to believe Schmidt when he says McCain's campaign didn't see Romney's tax returns as a problem—but that says more about McCain and his vetting operation than it does about Romney's returns. Remember, this is the vetting team that picked Sarah Palin. If they couldn't figure out that Palin was the disaster she turned out to be, isn't it a bit unreasonable to expect them to have figured out the byzantine maze that Mitt Romney's 10,000+ pages of tax returns surely presented?

So given how incompetent they were at judging Palin, I just don't think it's likely they took the time to really understand Mitt Romney's tax returns. But whether they did or they didn't isn't really all that important a question. The important question is why won't Romney release his returns before 2010? What's in there that he doesn't want people to see?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great insight. (13+ / 0-)

    Nice angle.

    I believe in the long-term arc of hope.

    by therehastobeaway on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:02:50 AM PDT

  •  everyone who is on the VEEP shortlist (6+ / 0-)

    should be asked how many years of tax returns they are providing to Romney.

    ps  Don't ask how many years he is "requiring", since if he has any sense at all he will only require 2 years- but nundge nudge wink wink allow the candidates to provide more if they wish...

    As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

    by BPARTR on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:03:48 AM PDT

  •  Nice try, Steve (21+ / 0-)

    Take one for the team.

    No one believes you, of course. There's some scary stuff in those returns; scary enough to make Caribou Kardashian look good by comparison.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra En théorie, il n'y a aucune différence entre théorie et pratique, mais en pratique, il y a toujours une différence. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:04:36 AM PDT

  •  well, things that would send you or i into a rage (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfcouple, JKTownsend, shoeless

    are not particularly bothersome to a rich bastard republican, so there's that

    however, methinks the smokingest of the smoking guns may lie in the returns mccain's posse didn't se: 2008, 2009

    •  Precisely (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It simply wouldn't have occurred to McCain's people to consider how rules-lawyer exploitation of loopholes would look to ordinary middle-class people -- they were just looking for anything that they understood to be scandalous (i.e. actual crimes that might come to light).

      On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

      by stevemb on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:29:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who says Steve Schmidt must be telling (7+ / 0-)

    the truth? It's true that claiming Mitt's horrendous tax returns drove him & McCain to pick Palin would make him look slightly less like a total yutz, but he's still a Republican and presumably wants one to win in 2012. I don't imagine Schmidt would reveal anything really damaging if it were true.

    Now McCain's another matter. He could blurt out anything if he gets pissed off enough.

  •  McCain's taxes probably look a lot like Mitt's... (5+ / 0-)

    Well at least his wife's probably does (assuming they kept things separate) - so there would be no shock value to them.  Not to mention Romney wouldn't have had to release them as VP if McCain wasn't going to release his as President.  So Romney's taxes being released was never an issue for the McCain vetters because they were never going to be released.

  •  I saw last night, and noticed that Steve... (9+ / 0-)

    ...'dodged' by saying HE DIDN"T SEE the taxes.  Further, by saying, "there was no discussion" (about Romney's taxes) could be a dodge, as well.  By that I mean, IF they had excluded Romney for other reasons (i.e. - don't need another rich guy on the ticket, the base hates him, etc.), then they never would have reached "talking about" Romney's taxes.
    Which is also to say, 'tax problems' might be there, but there's no reason to talk about, as they'd already ruled Romney out.
    Notice, what Steve DIDN'T say; that being "I/we saw the taxes, and there WAS NO problem there."
    IMHO, Steve's answer was a total dodge (which he's good at).

  •  Didn't I read (4+ / 0-)

    maybe here? that Steve said that the issue (or one of the issues) was that McCain had just taken a pounding for owning 6 houses, and with Romney that would have made about a dozen houses between the two candidates?

    Why is it that a 3% tax increase for the wealthy is considered "socialism" and an 8% wage cut for the middle class is "doing your part"? MartyM

    by delphine on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:09:49 AM PDT

  •  Whether his tax problem was the main (3+ / 0-)

    reason or not, I love that Dems are suggesting it is . . . It's a two-fer.  You get to remind voters that only people like Romney can take advantage of our crazy tax laws AND that he wasn't good enough then to be Veep (why would he suddenly be good enough to be Pres today?)


  •  Why the Title? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Why say the issue wasn't the taxes in the title, that is decidely misleading.  Schmidt said he never saw the returns and that McCains campaign didn't wnat to deal with the guys wealth.....

    In fact I doubt Schmidt would ever admit they had questions about Romney's taxes, that would be a career destroyer.

    Try using an accurate headline instead of misleading the readers.

  •  That's choice Steve. You know what's in what (4+ / 0-)

    you've never seen.

    Kinda like Romney wanting us to trust his word that he has paid all his taxes, but feels we don't need to see the proof.

    "Faith-based Politics" indeed!

    "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

    by Templar on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:11:01 AM PDT

  •  The simpler critique (3+ / 0-)

    According to Schmidt, Romney was rejected because of his wealth, so it's not as if they had to delve into how much worse, and what ways worse, the content of the tax returns would make that wealth story look even worse than the mere fact of the wealth.  The wealth itself had already vetoed the guy, they didn't have to delve deeper in their discussions into such theoretical consideratins as how much more of a liability than even rejection as their running mate those tax returns might have made Mitt.

    We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

    by gtomkins on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:12:00 AM PDT

  •  Sorry - I'm not buying it. (NOT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that my opinion is required for anything...)

    I agree that Culvahouse and Davis probably didn't go through all the many documents. But, not for nothing, the fact that Rmoney won't release those same returns now tells me that the McCain camp basically said something to the effect of, "You definitely look and act the part but ___in your returns is just a total deal breaker.  Take some advice: if you run again in '12, don't let these things out. You will go nowhere fast."

  •  time to really understand Mitt Romney's tax return (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, JKTownsend

    Mitt's returns and how he made his money in general are a whole new branch of math and physics

    Not blaming Bush for the mess we're in, is like not blaming a train engineer for a fatal train wreck because he's no longer driving the train.

    by JML9999 on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:12:22 AM PDT

  •  I heard all the other candidates hated Mitt and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JKTownsend, TofG

    their staffers hated Mitt and Mitt's staffers.   It was intensely personal, by accounts.  

    I suspect if such were true, it might be because Mitt's a scumbag liar flip flopper whose buying nominations.  Just thinking out loud.

    SCANDAL: Bush Supreme Court nominee Roberts upholds Romney's individual mandate! Another politically motivated decision!

    by Inland on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:12:41 AM PDT

  •  I am sure McCain's folks gave those returns (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ratcityreprobate, JKTownsend, TofG

    the WaPo treatment.  That is, they just assumed big important man, big official looking tax returns, prepared by a legitimate CPA firm, all must be ok.  

    They just did minimal due diligence making sure he filed and I imagined that they checked that there were no smoking guns like big donations to Planned Parenthood.  Otherwise, they would just assume all is fine.  That is how business is done amongst the cognoscenti.  You know who?  You went to school where?  You summer where? You use whom as your CPA? Well then, you are clearly one of the right people and all must be fine.  

    I seriously doubt anyone really crunched the numbers to see what Mitt's effective rates where or looked at what he was really paying into Medicare and Social Security.  They wouldn't think like that.  It is such an article of faith on the right that the rich like Mitt are over-taxed, that it wouldn't occur to them to check otherwise.  The is pre-OWS days, remember.

    Newt Gingrich: Believes marriage is between one man and a series of ever younger women. Wife #1 born ~ 1936, divorced when in her mid-40s...Wife #2 born ~1947, divorced when in her mid-40s...Wife #3 born ~1966.

    by trillian on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:13:42 AM PDT

  •  fine analysis (4+ / 0-)

    if the mccain campaign could think palin was a good vp choice then all bets are off on their competency on vetting anybody or anything having to do with their campaign.
    maybe they can jump in and give romney some tactical advice, please!

    •  My husband was Steve Schmidt's teacher (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      (social studies) in high school in New Jersey.  Steve apparently didn't graduate from University of Delaware because he couldn't pass a Math class.  So whether he looked at Mitt's taxes or not, he's not good with numbers and wouldn't see a problem with them if he did look.

      I've met him a couple times . . . Interesting guy!?!

  •  Even if Romny team is the gang that can't shoot (0+ / 0-)

    straight, what happens if this is a rope-a-dope and the tax returns were expertly cleaned as they were produced. Then Romney releases the returns and SURPRISE, there is nothing to see. Lots of money wasted on a false trail and the hate mongers make it seem like their guy is clean. Typical Karl Rove tactics of distraction and confusion. Watch the hell out.

    I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.” - Frank Zappa

    by OHdog on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:15:21 AM PDT

    •  You are giving them credit for more intelligence (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      than they collectively possess. "Team Romney" simply is not that politically astute.

      "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

      by Templar on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:23:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That would mean his accountants were (0+ / 0-)

      planning for this years ago. His campaign can't even plan from one hour to the next.  If you mean that they are cleaning up the returns after the fact, that won't wash.  If he were to release returns that were not what the IRS received the IRS could just disclose that fact without revealing anything about what they did actually receive (which would be against the law).

      You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia".

      by yellowdog on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:44:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There were SO MANY reasons not to pick Mitt, that his tax returns were an afterthought...why go through that kind of analysis when Mitt's public statements would be the problem, as they are now?

    McCain had a base problem...and Mittens was not going to help him with that.  Mormon, public statements about social issues, richie rich...he was as bad a choice for Veep as he is for nominee.

    Let's face it...if Mittens wasn't connected with the billionaires, he wouldn't be the nominee today.

  •  I believe him (0+ / 0-)

    He admits he never saw the returns so unless someone told him there was a problem with them he wouldn't even know. I think  they went with Palin because  they needed to shake things up.
    Also maybe the problem is with his 2008 and 2009 taxes. he probably took a major hit because of the downturn and had massive losses that were so bad he ended up getting a refund  I think he doesn't want to show his recent taxes more than he is worried about old returns.

  •  DeathStar Willard life support systems down to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, D in Northern Virginia

    75%......Shields are completely gone.

  •  Oh Really? lol yeah right (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:17:51 AM PDT

  •  What's interesting is that while Romney is (6+ / 0-)

    making a big deal out of Kerry's wife's taxes, no one has asked for Ann Romney's returns and yet there are reports that some Bain accounts were transferred to her the day before he became Governor.

    Mitt, do you really what to go there?

    "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

    by Templar on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:17:55 AM PDT

    •  Heinz's is "bigger" than rMONEY's (0+ / 0-)

      So is that Wealth Envy, Vagina Envy or some combination thereof?

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 09:00:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Game Change (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I also believe Schmidt. Remember, the whole point of Palin was that the McCain team thought they needed a "game changer" pick for VP. Romney -- another rich white guy largely distrusted by the GOP base -- would have been the single least game-changey pick they could possibly have made.

    "I play a street-wise pimp" — Al Gore

    by Ray Radlein on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:18:34 AM PDT

  •  Meh (0+ / 0-)

    I think they discounted Mitt as a choice right off the bat because McCain couldn't stand him. The vetting info was a moot point - bet there are some folks who would really like to get in that file cabinet.

  •  Just show the dang tax returns. Really! Willard (0+ / 0-)

    wasn't picked because he was too rich? THAT'S rich!

  •  If I were on the vetting team..... (4+ / 0-)

    Why would I take the time to review the details of Mitt Romney's tax returns if he was really not being considered for the job.

    For me, that's about the only Steve Schmidt said that was worth anything - Mitt Romney was not being considered because of the optics of 12 houses being owned by the GOP ticket.  Why waste time looking at the details.....

    •  exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      D in Northern Virginia

      and I love people who make statements about a subject, then asked, well did you actually witness what you are talking about?  and the answer is of course...umm  no.

      Worthless, why not talk to the guy standing in the acme ice cream isle, Im sure he hasnt seen Romneys taxes either.

      Bad is never good until worse happens

      by dark daze on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:24:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But then why would they need 23 years worth? (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not saying that Mitt was at the top of the list but there must be some reason that Mitt turned over TWENTY-THREE years worth of filings.  Maybe Mitt was begging to be on the ticket and wanted to be as fully vetted as possible - or maybe there was a problem that required tracking back over many years.

      Now see what I just did?  Maybe Mitt's tax returns had nothing to do with why he wasn't selected but where there is no information, people will speculate and fill in the void - this is a big part of what is killing Mitt's campaign.

  •  So..we are led to believe (0+ / 0-)

    that the guy who ran the McCain campaign didnt see what was in those returns? Yeah right, OK

  •  Romney's wealth cost him the job? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, trillian

    Republicans worship the wealthy. John McCain has 8 homes. Why would they hold Romney's wealth against him?

    Ann Richards on how to be a good Republican: You have to be against all government programs, but expect Social Security checks on time.

    by shoeless on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:22:16 AM PDT

  •  Mitt has no defense against new Obama ad (0+ / 0-)

    The new Obama ad on Mitt's refusal to release his tax returns asks the obvious question: Did Romney pay no taxes during these years?

    Mitt has no defense except to release his returns for the whole decade and 1999.

  •  Bain Capital is popular (0+ / 0-)

    Remember the long Beltway media debates over whether it was "out of bounds" to bring up the issue of Bain?  It seems like a lifetime ago as the Romney-Bain connection has now consumed the campaign and caused what may turn out to be irrevocable damage to the Romney candidacy.

    Remember also how some in the Beltway were lamenting how this campaign was going to be boring?  Although the story of Bain was there to be had, one had the impression that some in the MSM did not want to cover the Bain story or Romney's tax history.  But surprise-surprise, voters are actually tuned-in, and they are actually interested in such things.  

    The recent reports of increases in google searches and twitter buzz for Bain Capital means more website visits and revenue for those reporting on the topic.  Suddenly no one is debating whether Bain is out of bounds.

  •  isn't it possible that mccain vetters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    didn't bother with rmoney's tax returns? that it was never an issue because mccain finds mittens as utterly vacuous as the rest of us, even to the point of picking palin? at least sarah has a personna, even if it's a psychotic one

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:23:09 AM PDT

  •  He wasn't a right wing pinup girl (0+ / 0-)

    so I suppose they might be right that it wasn't about his taxes. It was about tokenism and finding someone that McCain didn't find intellectually threatening.


  •  Mitt's showing Palin was a better choice... (0+ / 0-)

    Sad to say, with his meltdown over the last few weeks, Palin is actually looking like the more competent individual.

    Mitt Romney treats people like things. And he treats things - corporations - like people.

    by richardak on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:28:40 AM PDT

  •  C'mon for Centrism and Boringosity, Mitt Would've (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    been a suicidal pick.

    As Richard Vigurie explained at the time Palin was picked, that move was a response to howls from state & local party organizations that the base was crashing. They were demanding a strong conservative.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:29:10 AM PDT

    •  Gooserock Has a Point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Let's remember that McCain was considered a "moderate",  as was Rmoney.  The McCain team desperately needed a game changer, and Rmoney was simply another moderate rich white guy who no one else liked anyway.

  •  what the McCain camp thought would be bad (0+ / 0-)

    isnt the same as what the average middle and lower income American would see as BAD...

    McCain didn't get it...  schmidt doesn't even Know 'it',  the Obama team already researched 'it' thinking Mitt might be the opposition in 2008 and WE arent even allowed to see 'it'

    the McCain team had two choices...  

    1) go with rMoney as VP and put a filthy rich venture capitalist on the ticket right after our economy collapsed


    2) try to trump Obama being Black by putting a WOMAN on the ticket as VP

    Palin was the McCain camps attempt to cash in on the long drawn out primary fight between Hillary and Obama

    and are we even sure that Mitt WANTED that VP slot?  surely he must have seen that McCain was NOT going to end up the winner and why would he want to be part of that LOSING ticket?   I think he pulled himself out of the running.

    so the question remains...  WHAT IS IN THOSE RETURNS that Mitt doesnt want US to see and Obama to be able to 'pick apart'    

    there is a growing downside for mitt in NOT releasing the tax returns, so where does he think the UPSIDE for his campaign is ?  

    I cannot believe they are that incompetent as campaigners...  so WHAT IS MITT HIDING?

    "You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and a humorist to stay one" - Will Rogers

    by KnotIookin on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:31:22 AM PDT

  •  McCain had enough problems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    with his base believing that he was a RINO.  The last thing they wanted was to add Romney with his reputation of being a RINO and a flip-flopper to the campaign.

  •  Byzantine... ahh that reminds me of... (0+ / 0-)

    Kurt Vonnegut's book, "Sirens of Titan", where the character Ransom K. Fern tells Noël Constant that his business would thrive more if a more byzantine business structure were created to foul the analysis of the IRS so that all kinds of money-making (albeit probably illegal) schemes could fly under the radar for reasons that the IRS would have to double its staff to audit Magnum Opus (that byzantine business structure).
    (it's somewhere in there)

    Damn nice book. Tells a lot of truth... One day (.... ok, how long was I asleep) it will be made into a movie starring the former GOP candidate W. Romney Constant as the main character, Unk, who escapes from the planet Mars to stay for a couple years on the planet Mercury, to return to the planet Earth as the saviour of the people there as its new prophet!

    Yep, all there in my movie screenplay.

    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:36:02 AM PDT

  •  This is a very carefully worded statement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He doesn't say that those who looked at the returns said the taxes weren't a problem. Schmidt says they said that Romney's wealth was a problem. That doesn't preclude additional problems with his returns.

    It is like saying I don't like someone because they kick puppies but the fact that he also kicks kittens goes unsaid.

    You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia".

    by yellowdog on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:39:14 AM PDT

  •  The guy who made the worst political (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trillian, Caneel

    decision in American history says the documents he did not see contain nothing damaging.

    Okay, let's take his word for it.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:47:50 AM PDT

    •  Ooh, that's brutal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      deliciously so.

      Newt Gingrich: Believes marriage is between one man and a series of ever younger women. Wife #1 born ~ 1936, divorced when in her mid-40s...Wife #2 born ~1947, divorced when in her mid-40s...Wife #3 born ~1966.

      by trillian on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 09:26:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I Don't Believe (0+ / 0-)

    it was his wealth that was the factor, at all.  Americans are just not bothered by wealth in itself.  They just felt they needed something other than a boring old white guy.

  •  Returns may be bigger issue for GOP than Romney (0+ / 0-)

    I think returns issue is bigger than the romney campaign. if these returns show what people are speculating, i.e. low or no taxes paid for years when everybody else was hurting and the GOPers were opposing efforts to spend on things that might help them, it hands Obama an weapon that can undercut a major policy plank of the Republican party. they GOP is expecting every member of congress to congress to run on cutting taxes for the rich (plus us too, sort of) this year.  if their canidate for POTUS makes that issue toxic for himself he makes it toxic for everyone, and seriously threatens the GOP's tax agenda in the next congress.

    •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

      What rmoney is hiding is the Truth.

      He is hiding the truth about how the ultra-wealthy,those with annual millions in unearned and tax-exempt income, are under-taxed in this country.

      Most Americans are aware that that there are certain tax breaks for the wealthy, but in reality they have no idea of the breadth and extent of those breaks.  Working schmucks, that is, secretaries and plumbers and police officers as well as doctors and lawyers and small business owners, don't truly understand how they've been screwed by the Rmoneys and the Clif Asnesses of the world.

      Newt Gingrich: Believes marriage is between one man and a series of ever younger women. Wife #1 born ~ 1936, divorced when in her mid-40s...Wife #2 born ~1947, divorced when in her mid-40s...Wife #3 born ~1966.

      by trillian on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 09:34:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The vetting team wanted pizzazz, and got more (0+ / 0-)

    of it than they remotely handle.   By that metric, who would choose Mitt?  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:56:18 AM PDT

  •  McCain Rejected Romney for Reasons Before.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...they even had to dig into his tax returns.  So Schmidt may be telling the entirely accurate truth.  Why expend the effort of diving into the details of Romney's tax returns and Bain business background when the McCain campaign was able to already decide they'd rather pass on Romney based on already known factors of optics, personality, compatibility etc.

    That OF COURSE means that Schmidt's pronouncement that the reasons for McCain's rejection of Romney had nothing to do with his tax returns is no indication whatsoever that Romney's tax returns don't contain potentially damaging material.  It's as if the McCain campaign had arrived at a crossroads with several road branches to choose from, and decided to not go down Romney Road at all, thus never discovering the IED buried a couple of km down that road where it intersects with tax return st.

  •  I don't think he's AFRAID to release them (0+ / 0-)

    but that he's being incredibly stubborn in feeling no obligation to do so. If his people can present polling numbers in swing states that undecided voters feel there might be something there, then maybe he'll release (some), otherwise ... no.

  •  Why could McCain campaign see the returns? (0+ / 0-)

    What is so special about the McCain campaign that they are entitled to see the returns, but the American public isn't? And if the right can gin up a fake birth certificate, shall we do fake IRS returns? Well, of course, we don't stoop to that level, but it's fun to think about.

    But where is Donald "Show us the birth certificate" Trump? Where is Orly Taitz? Why aren't they outraged that Mitt is hiding his returns? And where are their calls for Mitt's grade school, high school and college transcripts?

    Just asking.

    The Tea Party: They're so far right, they're wrong.

    by lynneinfla on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 09:54:27 AM PDT

  •  The reason he won't release his taxes (0+ / 0-)

    We know that he had carry forward losses from 2009 based on his 2010 form.  That almost certainly means that he paid no taxes in 2009, perhaps carrying over losses from 2008.  Paying zero on milliions of income would look terrible and even without the evasions is highly likely to have happened.

    That means that the real dirt was not exposed to McCain because McCain's campaign proceeded 2009.

    On the other hand, Romney seems smart in some ways and rather stupid in others.  If he really wanted to win the presidency he didn't actually have to take advantage of the tax losses in 2009.  However if he didn't think someone would ask for them or that he wouldn't have to give them, he would have taken them and now is about to have a lot of egg on his face.  By refusing to release them, it will make the eventual disclosure look like he feels guilty.

  •  There are a couple of possibilities... (0+ / 0-)

    1) McCain was not seriously considering Romney as a VP candidate in 2008, so no one in his campaign forcefully asked for much information from him (this in my mind is the most likely case).

    2A) A few of the McCain staff saw some of the tax returns; they were so toxic no one else was allowed to see them.

    2B) Contrary to the implication in this statement, here:

    No, I never saw the tax returns, Lawrence. They would have been seen by A.B. Culvahouse and Rick Davis who ran the vetting operation for Senator McCain in that campaign.
    (Italics added.)

    No one; and just no one in the McCain camp was allowed to see the returns.

    In any case, the Romney tax returns are too toxic for any but a select few Republicans to see them...meaning, there are serious issues here which the average Republican base player would question, and which would discourage the average Republican base player to vote for Romney.

    On the other hand, I am not sure we know this is true....

    Guy who picked Sarah Palin says Mitt Romney's problem wasn't his taxes
    Has John McCain admitted to seeing the Romney tax returns? If so, he should be dogged by inquiries until he lets on what he thought of them.

    H'mm. I'm not terribly into this, anymore.

    by Knarfc on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 10:08:01 AM PDT

  •  methinks he doth protest (0+ / 0-)

    The very fact that John McCain weighs in says it all. One, Palin is smarter than Romney. Two, something bad is in the returns.

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