Ann Romney Thinks You People Know Enough About Mitt's Money, Thank You Very Much
As another day went by with the Romneys refusing to release their tax returns for more than the last two years, Ann Romney did her husband's campaign for the presidency no favor with what has been described as her "Marie Antoinette moment" on ABC's "Good Morning America" yesterday. You'll recall that in an interview with Robin Roberts (video at the bottom of this post), Ann Romney said: "[W]e've given all you people need to know about our financial situation and how we live our life..."
(Note: there's some discrepancy over whether or not Mrs. Romney inserted the word "you" in front of the word "people," but I believe that she did.)
Oh, and because of her contention that Mitt is "very generous," tithing to the LDS church and all, we have no business wanting to know anything more about how he's come by all that money.
Now, as Rachel Maddow pointed out (video) last night, this is not a good strategy for moving media attention on to another topic. In fact, if you look at more of Ann Romney's quote, it gets even worse. For while the media fixated on whether Mrs. Romney said she wasn't giving up her tax returns to "people" or "you people," the real point is that the Romneys don't think they should show their tax returns to anybody -- not to you, not to people. And here's why (from my transcription of the GMA video):
Because there are so many things that will be open again for attack, and you just want to get more material for more attack, and that's really -- that's just the answer. And we've given all you people need to know about our financial situation and how we live our life...
So many things "that will be open again for attack"? And that's your defense for hiding those things?
Speculation naturally abounds now about what those "things" might be. Human Nature 101 (a course the Romneys obviously have not taken).
At BusinessWeek, Joshua Green suggested that Romney may have suffered enough in the way of losses during the financial meltdown that he paid no taxes in 2009. Not true, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul told Politico. (The Obama campaign, quick on the uptake, used that speculation in an ad (video) running in Pennsylvania, according to Politico's Alexander Burns.)
Business Insider floats another possibility:
Incidentally, another more exotic possibility that had come to mind is that somehow Mitt Romney made a windfall profit in 2008-2009, perhaps by being part of a fund that was short housing or bet on the bank bailouts. That's 100% speculation, but it would also be the kind of thing that would be deadly (probably more deadly than $0 taxes). It also would have been somewhat unplannable.
The only defense the Romney campaign seems to have is to either remind voters that Obama is black, accuse him of being, ahem, not exactly American, or to advance a lie about what Obama said about government's role in job creation in a Web video --an accusation that Paul Krugman makes mincemeat of this morning at the New York Times.
All that said, the polls have yet to reflect much of an effect from Romney's evasive tactics. We'll learn a lot about the electorate's priorities if, once this week's Romney antics are accounted for in tracking polls, there's movement in either direction. (Latest national polls show a virtual tie between Romney and Obama.)