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Frank Bruni of The New York Times has finally asked the most piercing question of the 2012 presidential campaign. In the op-ed Mitt’s Mortification, he asked “how does a man who has harbored presidential ambitions almost since he was a zygote create a paper trail of offshore accounts and tax returns like his?”

Bruni put it down to shortsightedness, but I’d suggest a deeper problem. Every step of the way, from the Caymans to Bermuda to the $100 million IRA magically created from $6,000 maximum contributions, greed trumped ambition.  

There’s a scene in the movie “Arbitrage” in which the actor Richard Gere, his double-dealing exposed, tries to explain the demon that drove him: “It was money, always money, money is God!"

Romney succumbed to the same demon. When he opened those offshore accounts, when he goosed that IRA, when he left Bain but didn't really leave, he knew precisely what he was doing. He put first what mattered most. He made his choice.

Forty days from now, the rest of us get to make ours.

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