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Rachel Maddow Goes Deep on Mitt Romney's Tax Return Hypocrisy

 
 
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At the end of Thursday night's show, Rachel Maddow had a teaser about a piece of video that hadn't been seen in 10 years. I posted the teaser as an update to the diary about Wednesday's night's show (Rachel Maddow Helps President Obama Expose Romney's Achilles’ Heel), where Rachel showed us how Mitt Romney was caught lying during his 2002 run for Governor of Massachusetts. Here's the video clip Rachel was talking about.


[Video of Sept 24, 2002, debate] Question: You have refused to release your income tax forms even though others, including Governor William Weld, U.S. Senator John Kerry, and your opponent, Shannon O'Brien, released theirs. Do you have something to hide?

Mitt Romney (laughing): I believe very deeply in my personal privacy, what little amount there's left. And in this case, you've made a couple exceptions from your list. Senator Kennedy, when I was running against him, "Boy," I told him, "you've got to release those income tax returns of yours." And he said, "No, I value my privacy." And I think he was right, and I was wrong. As a result, I do share his view on this. I'm not going to release my income tax returns. And Shannon O'Brien's husband, with whom I presume they share expenses, likewise hasn't reduced, excuse me, released his income taxes.

One thing I noticed, that Rachel never mentioned in Friday night's show, was that correction at the end: "And Shannon O'Brien's husband, with whom I presume they share expenses, likewisehasn't reduced, excuse me, released his income taxes." Am I being too cynical, or does that look like some sort of Freudian slip? Now that you've seen the promised clip, I will try to explain how it fits into the narrative of the hypocrisy Mitt Romney has been practicing ever since his first foray into an attempt to take public office in 1994, when he ran against Ted Kennedy trying to claim Kennedy's Senate seat.

Rachel dedicated nearly the entire first half hour of Friday night's The Rachel Maddow Show to examining Mitt Romney and how he has been dancing around releasing his income taxes since that 1994 race. There was so much information to share, that Rachel divided it into two segments with a commercial break in between. The first segment reviewed what has been happening this week with what Harry Reid said about Mitt Romney having paid no taxes for ten years, wanting to know what Romney is hiding, and the ensuing firestorm.

Rachel pointed out that all the focus has been on Harry Reid, and how reporters are buying into "the whining and complaining about this horrible tactic and how unfair it is" from Romney and his campaign spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom. Here's the kicker: Romney and Fehrnstrom did the exact same thing to Shannon O'Brien when Romney ran against her in the 2002 Massachusetts governor's race. Romney refused to release his returns then. O'Brien released hers, but Romney and Fehrnstrom demanded to see the tax returns for O'Brien's husband, wanting to know "What are you hiding?" In other words, in Romney's world what's good for the goose, is not good for the gander.

Also during that 2002 campaign, Mitt Romney was caught red-handed, lying about what was in his taxes. Rachel had already dedicated the opening segment of Wednesday's show to this topic. If you missed it, you can find the video and complete transcript at the diary linked to above. Friday night, Rachel eloquently made the case, as only Rachel can, that Mitt Romney must release his tax returns to the press and the American people, because Mitt Romney has proven himself in public life to be the opposite of trustworthy on the issue of what is in his taxes. Ten years ago, "he lost the benefit of the doubt on this issue."We join Rachel about eleven minutes into the first segment.

Here is the transcript of the last portion of that clip (The transcript of entire segment below the fleur-de-orange):

Now ten years later, they're saying everything he's ever done in his taxes is lawful. He's never paid zero taxes. He's paid every dollar that he has owed. He's paid a ton of taxes. "Trust us." It's a neat assertion, But it is an empirical assertion. It is checkable, and the people trying to vet Mitt Romney for president would like to be able to fact check that assertion. Presumably, you guys are making that assertion because you think it has political import.

Therefore, you either need to be very trustworthy in your assertions about these things or you need to let us check for ourselves as the American people and the press. And not only are you not letting us check for ourselves, but you have proven yourself in public life to be the opposite of trustworthy on this particular issue. Ten years ago, you lost the benefit of the doubt on this issue. One other nice parallel here, in case you still need to be convinced that we're just reliving exactly what happened ten years ago, the last time Mitt Romney tried this, is that he's doing his whole tough talk thing just like he did when he got caught back then. It's the exact same same playbook. So right now, Harry Reid is making his allegation that Mitt Romney didn't pay taxes. Mitt Romney is saying "That's untrue." But he's not just saying it's untrue, he's saying (pounding chest) it's untrue while appearing very tough.

Video of Mitt Romney speaking: Well, Harry Reid really has to put up or shut up, all right?
"All right! Put up or shut up! Argh! All right! I paid all my taxes! Argh!" But again, remember, this is a rerun. Here is what tough talk Mitt Romney being called out about his taxes looked like the first time around.
Video of Romney speaking in 2002: If the Democrats want to look at my candidacy and file against me and keep me from running, go ahead. Make my day.
"Make my day! Argh! Put up or shut up. Argh." In poker, when you're bluffing or when you're under some strain of some kind, people say you have a tell. Something that you maybe even subconsciously fall back on, every time. Mitt Romney has a tell. But you have to be willing to look back to the earlier part of his time in public life to see it. Hold on, wait, there's more.
By the way, the originator of the "Make my day" quote, and hero of the  “Halftime in America” Chrysler Super Bowl ad, endorsed Romney on Friday. What could he being thinking?

Then there was a commercial break. When she returned, Rachel took us further back in time to Romney's 1994 campaign against Senator Ted Kennedy, telling us that during that campaign, Romney demanded that Senator Kennedy release his tax returns to prove that "he had nothing to hide," and promised "If my opponent releases tax returns, I will, too, that very day." Senator Kennedy never released his taxes, and neither did Romney. However, during the 2002 Massachusetts race, when the "Boston press did not go easy on him," Romney claimed that he was not being inconsistent. Eight years later, he was still waiting for Senator Ted Kennedy, who was not is opponent, to release his income taxes. Romney would release his in 2002 after Senator Kennedy released his income taxes. We join Rachel at the 3:30 mark:


This is 2002. This is eight years after Romney ran against Ted Kennedy, in a totally unrelated race, in which Mitt Romney was refusing to release his tax returns. But he said he would release them if Senator Kennedy did, too. They said the same thing to theBoston Herald, as well. Asked about the 1994 Kennedy campaign, Fehrnstrom said Romney will still release his returns - if Senator Kennedy does. Quote, "We have been waiting eight years and the offer still stands," Fehrnstrom said. [see The Boston Herald, April 16, 2002 (could not find online link)]

Eight years after that Senate race? That was the only condition under which Mitt Romney would release his tax returns? His opponent releasing her tax returns, wasn't enough. All his Democratic opponents releasing their tax returns, wasn't enough. Getting caught lying about his tax returns in relation to his Massachusetts residency, wasn't enough. But eight years after he ran against Ted Kennedy for senate when he was running in a totally different race, in which Ted Kennedy was totally irrelevant, a release of Ted Kennedy's tax returns would be the trigger for Mitt Romney to release his returns? Why? And if that offer still stood eight years after that election, when Ted Kennedy was totally irrelevant to the race he was in, does that mean the offer still stands now? We asked the Romney campaign today if the offer still stands. So far, we've had no on the record response, but I really hope we will.

Needless to say, Rachel Maddow has presented this country with one kick-ass, awesome execution of investigative journalism that lays out in no uncertain terms the complete hypocrisy Williard M. Romney has been guilty of since he entered public life in 1994.

Every American citizen who cares about our country, and every journalist who wants to honestly earn his or her paycheck, should stop talking about what Harry Reid said, and start asking Mitt Romney, "What are you hiding?" And then demand that he release his tax return! Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper, write a comments at online news site, respond to tweets, reply to those friends and family on Facebook, whatever you can think of to make your voice heard and demand that Willard M. Romney release his taxes! If you tweet, please be sure to use the hastag #Romneyshambles! It's still very popular, and is crushing the lame attempt of the right-wing to start something similar against President Obama (it isn't working).

In an effort to help with this campaign, I would like to introduce you to an artist I discovered on Facebook. Actually, he calls himself The Photo Doctor, and his name is Tracy Knauss. If you use Facebook, please subscribe to his feed, and share his photos. Here is an example of the impressive work he's been doing for this cause:

We The People

Willard Mitt Romney

"We the People", the working class, the people whose jobs you outsourced and whose pensions you stole, the people whose lives you and your Wall St. banksters ruined. We will not take "no" for an answer. Show us your papers, Mr. Romney! Now!!

Due to the length, and it being divided into two video clips, I posted below the fleur-de-orange the entire transcription of both segments for those who can't watch videos online. I have also embedded the video for both segments for those who can watch. I urge you to watch these videos if you can! Watch Romney carefully, and see if you can spot his tell.

Whew! I'm exhausted!

 


Honestly, I have to tell you, I've been looking forward to this show for a long time. As you know today the new jobs report came out showing the economy added more jobs than economists expected but still not enough. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 8.3%. Now President Obama and Mitt Romney gave simultaneous speeches about the economy and about the campaign this morning shorty after the jobs report came out. The President speaking in Washington, Mitt Romney speaking in Nevada. Honestly, it's not that weird for them to be giving split screen speeches. That's going to happen more and more over the next 95 days as we close in on the election.

But what was weird about today is that Mr. Romney in Nevada, took questions ... from reporters. That basically never happens. His whole six day trip abroad this past week with a giant entourage of American reporters going to great expense to follow him 24 hours a day, through three countries. He took precisely three questions from the traveling American press corps over that entire stretch. Five minutes, three questions over six days. Mitt Romney really never takes questions from reporters. But today he did.

[Video of Mitt Romney] Question from female Reporter: Harry Reid has said that you didn't pay taxes for ten years, according to some sources that he hasn't named. I mean, could you silence these, these remarks if - by just disclosing more of your tax returns?

Mitt Romney: Well, Harry Reid has to put up, or shut up. All right.

This is the guy who won't release his tax returns, talking about his tax returns, saying somebody else needs to (laughing) put up or shut up.
[Video of Mitt Romney] Mitt Romney: Let me also say categorically, I have paid taxes every year, and a lot of taxes. A lot of taxes. So Harry is simply wrong.

Question from male Reporter: Instead of just going back and forth with Harry Reid, why not just release the tax returns? Just put the issue to bed.

Mitt Romney: Well actually, you can go on our website, and you can see my financial disclosure statements going back to 2002. You also can see the tax returns that I put out for 2010. [Splice in tape] Go on the website. You'll be surprised to see the amazing about of data that's associated with our campaign's disclosure. Thank you.

Mitt Romney Financial DisclosureThank you. You can, in fact, go on the Mitt Romney website and look at what his campaign has put out as his financial disclosure. And they have done their best to make it look amazing. Still, though it is only the one year. The 2010 tax return.

The aforementioned Harry Reid, who is both the Senator Majority Leader and the Senior Senator from Nevada put out a statement today, welcoming Mr. Romney to his home state by calling him quote the most secretive presidential candidate since Richard Nixon ... Forget about president - Mitt Romney couldn't get confirmed as a cabinet secretary. Every single nominee overseen by the Senate Finance Committee has to release more tax returns than Romney is willing to release.

Mitt Romney and Harry Reid are trading blows right now as if they are running against each other. Which, no matter what you're fighting about, is never a good place to be for a presidential nominee. Alright they call it Punching Down. Punching down. No insult is intended to Mr. Reid by saying that, but Mr. Romney is running for president. He's not running for senator. So for him to be in a fight with a Senator? [makes confused face] Anyway, this strange attack that Harry Reid launched on Mitt Romney this week, has essentially become the fulcrum of all political activity in the presidential race now. Even though it is punching down for Mr. Romney for him to respond to it, that's where the race is right now.

It started off, strangely, on Tuesday. Senator Reid gave an interview to The Huffington Post in which he seemed to be  in which he made what seemed to be a wild accusation. Here's how it appeared in The Huffington Post. Saying he had "no problem with somebody being really, really wealthy," Reid sat up in his chair a bit before stirring the pot further. A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office. "Harry, he didn't pay any taxes for 10 years," Reid recounted the person as saying. "He didn't pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that's true? Well, I'm not certain," said Reid. "But obviously he can't release those tax returns. How would it look? "You guys have said his wealth is $250 million," Reid went on. "Not a chance in the world. It's a lot more than that. I mean, you do pretty well if you don't pay taxes for 10 years when you're making millions and millions of dollars."

PhotobucketFor a soft-spoken guy, a mild-mannered guy, even for somebody who's usually hyper, that's a little unhinged. An unnamed, single source, making a phone call to his office with a wild accusation that the Senator Majority Leader then puts on the record to reporters even though he admits that it's just hearsay and he doesn't know if it's true? That's outrageous! It's weird. It rightfully got Senator Reid absolutely roasted by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. It seemed for all the world that Harry Reid maybe had just slipped up on this. Maybe just made a careless decision to make a reckless allegation. He must not have really meant it. This slipped out. He must be embarrassed. It has not played out at all that way this week.

After furious denunciations from the Romney campaign, Senator Reid said it again. He took to the Senate Floor and very calmly said it again. What he had said to The Huffington Post, he reiterated it. By then it was both the Romney Campaign and Mr. Romney himself who were denying the allegations.

Voice of Mr Romney speaking by phone on The Sean Hannity Show on Thursday: Of course, that's totally and completely wrong. It's, it's untrue, dishonest and inaccurate. it's wrong.

Video of Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom appearing on Fox News: I'm telling you, authoritatively speaking on behalf of the Governor, that those charges are untrue. They're baseless, and there's nothing to back them up.

After those responses from Mr. Romney and from his campaign, Harry Reid put out another statement, this time in writing. A big long, written statement, reiterating what he says this anonymous source told him about Mr. Romney's taxes and just whipping Mr. Romney for not releasing more tax returns.

It is understandable that this firestorm in the campaign this week has focused on Harry Reid and this strange and seemingly reckless way that he as made this accusation. He's essentially saying, "I'm assuming you're dirty. Somebody told me you are and it seems like you must be. So prove that you're not! It makes sense that people are focusing on Harry Reid because that's the type of allegation that he has made. But there are two things from the public record of Mitt Romney's life as a politician that should change, or at least inflect, the way that this is being discussed. And the first is that if you don't like the way that Harry Reid is making this allegation; if you don't like the way that he's approaching this. If you think that it's unfair or unseemly, you should at least know that Mitt Romney, himself, has done this exact same thing that he is complaining is being done to him now.

In 2002, when Mitt Romney was running for Massachusetts Governor, he would not release his tax returns. All of the candidates running on the democratic side, Robert Reich, Thomas Birmingham, Shannon O'Brien, who became the ultimate Democratic nominee; they all released multiple years of tax returns. But, Mitt Romney on the Republican side, would not release his. So when it came time for the general election, you got a Democrat, Shannon O'Brien, who has released her tax returns, and you've got the Republican, Mitt Romney, who has not released his tax returns. From that position, as the guy who hasn't released his returns, Mitt Romney attacks Shannon O'Brien for her husband not releasing his tax returns.

Video of Mitt Romney speaking, September 2002: Shannon O'Brien's husband, with whom I presume they share expenses, likewise, hasn't reduced, excuse me, released his income taxes.
"I won't release my tax returns, but your husband must? Your returns aren't good enough. I need to see your husband's too, but no, you can't see mine?" Look at this reporting from April 2002. One day after balking at releasing his own tax returns... The Romney campaign launches this attack on Shannon O'Brien "Her hands aren't clean," said Romney deputy campaign manager Eric Fehrnstrom, Oh yea, remember him? of O'Brien's release of her tax return but not the filings of her husband, [longtime lobbyist R. Emmett Hayes]. "She can't claim to be disclosing anything until she discloses the returns of her husband..." Eric Fehrnstrom then went on to say, "...what is she hiding?" [see Boston Herald, April 17, 2002]

This is the campaign that's not releasing anything, yelling at the campaign that has released its tax returns. What are you hiding? Fast forward ten years, and now it's Harry Reid bellowing at Mitt Romney and Eric Fehrnstrom, "What are you hiding?" And Mitt Romney and Eric Fehrnstrom are whining and complaining about this horrible tactic and how unfair it is. And the whole press is going along with them, without looking back into Mitt Romney's history to see that he has done the exact same thing. If you go tomaddowblog.com, we can't post the whole article there because it's locked in theBoston Herald's archives, but we posted the date and headline and reporter, and I bet you can be enterprising and find a way to pay for it online somehow, so you can see for yourself that Mitt Romney did this exact same thing that Harry Reid is now doing to Mitt Romney that the whole press says is so awful.

So I said that there are two things about Mr. Romney's past that should redirect the current furor in the presidential campaign right now. And one of them is that he's guilty of the exact same thing Harry Reid is doing. Actually, even a worse variant of the same thing, that he is now whining about with all of the support in the press. But the other thing, it's more important, and actually, it's the whole largely missed but most important point of the whole Mitt Romney tax return question writ large, which becomes crystal clear as soon as you look at his record in Massachusetts. And that is that Mr. Romney is not only refusing to release his tax returns. He's not just saying no to that request. He's making positive empirical claims about what is in his tax returns. He's not just saying "No, you can't see them." He's saying "No, you can't see them and let me tell you what's in them."

Video of Mitt Romney, Aug 3, 2012: Let me also say categorically categorically, I have paid taxes every year, and a lot of taxes.

Video of Mitt Romney, July 29, 2012: My view is I have paid all the taxes required by law. I don't pay more than are legally due.

ABC News Video, July 30, 2012: A spokesperson would only reiterate, Mitt Romney has paid his taxes in full compliance with U.S. law and he has paid 100% of what he has owed.

Video of Mitt Romney, Jan 19, 2012: I obviously pay all full taxes, I'm honest in my dealings with people. People understand that.

Video of Andrea Mitchell interviewing Mitt Romney, Dec 30 2011: AM: Is there some secret? People know you're wealthy.

MR: Yea, I understand.

AM: There's nothing to hide?

MR: No, I agree, there's nothing to hide.

These are all assertions by Mitt Romney himself and from his campaign dating from today all the way back to last year. That last comment to Andrea Mitchell was December of last year. "I have nothing to hide. Trust me, I have paid a lot of taxes. I have never paid zero taxes. I have paid many dollars in taxes. I have paid every dollar I'm legally required to. I have paid 100% of what I legally owe. Trust me." And this is what has been lost in this campaign furor around Mr. Romney's taxes and him not releasing his tax returns. And that is that his response is not just, "No, you can't see my taxes." His response is "No, you can't see my taxes, but let me tell you what's in them. Trust me." And what's important about that is that Mitt Romney has done this before.

He did this in Massachusetts in 2002. Massachusetts Democrats said in 2002 that Mitt Romney was not eligible to run for governor in the state because the state constitution says you have to have been a resident of Massachusetts for seven years before you can run for governor. In trying to prove that allegation, they asserted that Mr. Romney's tax returns would show that he had not filed his taxes as a Massachusetts resident. They thought that should disqualify him from being able to run for governor in the state.

Video of James Roosevelt Jr., MA Dem Party Counsel, June 2002: We believe that Mitt Romney is not qualified under the Massachusetts constitution to be governor because he declared himself to be a nonresident of Massachusetts.
So for their own reasons, because they were trying to get him kicked off the ballot, Massachusetts Democrats asserted that Mitt Romney's taxes showed him declaring himself to be a non-resident of Massachusetts. The Romney campaign denied this. They went to reporters and denied that allegation from the Democrats. Romney filed his taxes as a resident of both Utah and Massachusetts in 1999 and 2000, and plans to do the same for 2001, said Romney spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom. [see The Associated Press State & Local Wire, April 16, 2002.] They wouldn't release the tax returns, wouldn't show them to anybody, but they said "Trust me." Eric Fehrnstrom and Mitt Romney said "Trust us. The tax returns show that Mitt Romney filed as a Massachusetts resident." That's what they said. They were lying!
WHDH-TV Video Report, June 2002: Reporter: The Democrats point to Romney's house in Utah, which was listed as his primary residence, to support a challenge. They also want to see his tax returns.

James Roosevelt, Jr., MA Dem Party Counsel: We've now learned from his own lips this afternoon that Mr. Romney lied yesterday when he said he had filed resident tax returns in both Massachusetts and Utah.

Reporter: Romney acknowledged today he amended his 1999 and 2000 Massachusetts State Tax returns to make him a resident here.

To make him a resident here, retroactively. So after saying all along, for months, to the people of Massachusetts, "Trust me, I have have been filing my tax returns as a Massachusetts resident." It finally came out under pressure that that was not true. He had to go back retroactively and refile as a Massachusetts resident because he hadn't filed as a Massachusetts resident despite what he was saying in public. He said, "Trust me I have," when he had not. The Romney campaign had held on to that line until the very last moment.

Literally days before Mr. Romney finally had to admit, "Okay, no, I didn't file as a Massachusetts resident." Up until that very week, he and Eric Fehrnstrom were still saying, "Trust us." Earlier in the week, [Mr. Romney] rejected a request by the Globe for copies of his returns with financial information redacted but his residential status visible. A Romney spokesman later identified by the Globe as Eric Fehrnstrom insisted at the time that the GOP candidate had filed as a Massachusetts resident but told the Globe reporter, "You're going to have to take my word for it." [see Boston Globe, June 7, 2002] Then days later, it turns out that word is worth nothing, at least when it comes to taxes. He was lying.

Now ten years later, they're saying everything he's ever done in his taxes is lawful. He's never paid zero taxes. He's paid every dollar that he has owed. He's paid a ton of taxes. "Trust us." It's a neat assertion, But it is an empirical assertion. It is checkable, and the people trying to vet Mitt Romney for president would like to be able to fact check that assertion. Presumably, you guys are making that assertion because you think it has political import.

Therefore, you either need to be very trustworthy in your assertions about these things or you need to let us check for ourselves as the American people and the press. And not only are you not letting us check for ourselves, but you have proven yourself in public life to be the opposite of trustworthy on this particular issue. Ten years ago, you lost the benefit of the doubt on this issue. One other nice parallel here, in case you still need to be convinced that we're just reliving exactly what happened ten years ago, the last time Mitt Romney tried this, is that he's doing his whole tough talk thing just like he did when he got caught back then. It's the exact same same playbook. So right now, Harry Reid is making his allegation that Mitt Romney didn't pay taxes. Mitt Romney is saying "That's untrue." But he's not just saying it's untrue, he's saying (pounding chest) it's untrue while appearing very tough.

Video of Mitt Romney speaking: Well, Harry Reid really has to put up or shut up, all right?
"All right! Put up or shut up! Argh! All right! I paid all my taxes! Argh!" But again, remember, this is a rerun. Here is what tough talk Mitt Romney being called out about his taxes looked like the first time around.
Video of Romney speaking in 2002: If the Democrats want to look at my candidacy and file against me and keep me from running, go ahead. Make my day.
"Make my day! Argh! Put up or shut up. Argh." In poker, when you're bluffing or when you're under some strain of some kind, people say you have a tell. Something that you maybe even subconsciously fall back on, every time. Mitt Romney has a tell. But you have to be willing to look back to the earlier part of his time in public life to see it. Hold on, wait, there's more.


There's one more thing from Mitt Romney's history as a public figure that I think is being lost in the current discussions about him not releasing his tax returns. It is this, In his 1994 Senate race against Ted Kennedy, Mitt Romney demanded that Ted Kennedy release his tax returns. Quote, With the tax filing deadline looming, Republican candidate Mitt Romney yesterday challenged Senator Edward M. Kennedy to disclose his state and federal taxes to prove he has, quote, "nothing to hide." "It's time the biggest taxing senator in Washington showed the people of Massachusetts how much he pays in taxes," said Romney. [see Boston Globe, April 14, 1994]

Now does this mean that Mitt Romney disclosed his tax returns add the same time that same year? Surely he wouldn't demand the other guy release his taxes without releasing his own? Yeah, of course, he would. Romney said he would disclose his own state and federal taxes for the last three years "on the very day Kennedy turns over his taxes for public scrutiny." [see Boston Globe, April 14, 1994]

So that was the gig, right? "I will release my tax returns but only when my opponent releases his." Mitt Romney lost to Ted Kennedy in that Senate race. Mr. Romney's opponent, the Senator, never released his tax returns so neither did Mitt Romney. But when Mr. Romney ran for office the next time, in 2002, when he ran for Massachusetts governor, his opponent in that race did release her tax returns. In fact, all of the Democrats running against him released their tax returns even before they picked their Democratic nominee. Robert Reich, and the State Senate President, and Shannon O'Brien, the eventual nominee; they all released multiple years of their tax returns. And remember, in '94, Mr. Romney said, "If my opponent releases tax returns, I will, too, that very day." But in 2002, when his opponent released tax returns, Mr. Romney wouldn't do it. He wouldn't release his. What changed? He was asked about that change in a debate that year.

[Video of Sept 24, 2002, debate] Question: You have refused to release your income tax forms even though others, including Governor William Weld, U.S. Senator John Kerry, and your opponent, Shannon O'Brien, released theirs. Do you have something to hide?

Mitt Romney (laughing): I believe very deeply in my personal privacy, what little amount there's left. And in this case, you've made a couple exceptions from your list. Senator Kennedy, when I was running against him, "Boy," I told him, "you've got to release those income tax returns of yours." And he said, "No, I value my privacy." And I think he was right, and I was wrong. As a result, I do share his view on this. I'm not going to release my income tax returns. And Shannon O'Brien's husband, with whom I presume they share expenses, likewise hasn't reduced, excuse me, released his income taxes.

He's not releasing his tax returns. He was wrong to ever demand that his opponent, Senator Kennedy, should release his tax returns, but now that his new opponent, Shannon O'Brien, has released her tax returns, well now, how come we're not seeing her husband's, too? It was weird, right? It was a weird spot for Mr. Romney to be caught in. It was 180 degree about face on this same issue that's dogging him now in his run for the presidency. And in 2002, the Boston press did not go easy on him. They did not go easy on him the last time he made a hash of this issue in the run for governor. From theBoston Globe, quote, Romney had made an issue of tax disclosure when he ran against US Senator Edward Kennedy in 1994, criticizing Kennedy for having never released his returns... Romney's spokesman yesterday there was no inconsistency in the action. "The offer still stands on Ted," [Eric] Fehrnstrom said. "We've been waiting." [see Boston Globe, April 16, 2002]

This is 2002. This is eight years after Romney ran against Ted Kennedy, in a totally unrelated race, in which Mitt Romney was refusing to release his tax returns. But he said he would release them if Senator Kennedy did, too. They said the same thing to theBoston Herald, as well. Asked about the 1994 Kennedy campaign, Fehrnstrom said Romney will still release his returns - if Senator Kennedy does. Quote, "We have been waiting eight years and the offer still stands," Fehrnstrom said. [see The Boston Herald, April 16, 2002 (could not find online link)]

Eight years after that Senate race? That was the only condition under which Mitt Romney would release his tax returns? His opponent releasing her tax returns, wasn't enough. All his Democratic opponents releasing their tax returns, wasn't enough. Getting caught lying about his tax returns in relation to his Massachusetts residency, wasn't enough. But eight years after he ran against Ted Kennedy for senate when he was running in a totally different race, in which Ted Kennedy was totally irrelevant, a release of Ted Kennedy's tax returns would be the trigger for Mitt Romney to release his returns? Why? And if that offer still stood eight years after that election, when Ted Kennedy was totally irrelevant to the race he was in, does that mean the offer still stands now? We asked the Romney campaign today if the offer still stands. So far, we've had no on the record response, but I really hope we will.

 

DailyKos / By hungrycoyote

Posted at August 4, 2012, 9:18am

 
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