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Mitt Romney to NBC's Brian Williams on his refusal to disclose any tax returns before 2010:
I'm following the same precedent that was put in place by John McCain. Two years, and by the way, hundreds of pages (LAUGH) of returns for the Democrat operatives to go through and twist and distort and to turn in different directions and try and make a big deal out of. But, you know, the American people are not real concerned about tax returns. They're concerned about who can get this economy going and create good jobs again. And I can. The president hasn't been able to do the job as he had expected to do. And I know how to get it done.
Uh, Americans do want to know what's in Mitt Romney's tax returns, and he knows it. That's why he won't release them. We polled registered voters on exactly this topic and by a 56-34 margin, a majority said they wanted him to release 12 years of returns. Among independents it was more overwhelming: 61 percent to 27 percent. And that was before Romney said releasing his returns would be politically damaging.

If Romney thought voters wouldn't care about his returns, he wouldn't be going to such great lengths to avoid releasing them. And when Brian Williams pressed him on the topic, that's basically what he admitted:

Well one, I’ve released all the information about my financial holdings. That's required by law. And then in addition beyond the law, have released, or will finally release act-- when the last year is complete, two years of full returns. And what we've noted is our Democrat friends, take what's there, twist it, distort it-- dishonestly use it in-- in attack ads. I just don't wanna give 'em more material than is required.
Romney's trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, he's claiming that he's already released all of his financial information, and on the other hand he's saying that if he releases the information, Democrats will use it against him politically. But the first part isn't even true—we didn't learn about his Swiss bank account or his Bermuda shell corporation until he released his returns. And the second part doesn't make sense—Democrats already are damaging Romney politically. If they were lying about or distorting Romney's financial information, wouldn't releasing more information clear the air?

As long as Romney hides his returns, there's really no way to stop the speculation about what might be in them. But if he releases them, then there will be nothing to speculate about: just the facts of what's actually in the returns. And if he thinks that would be politically damaging, it says something about his returns—not the Democratic Party.

7:20 AM PT: The conservative Manchester Union Leader (!) calls on Romney to release his returns.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 06:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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