By Teresa Welsh |
Official Washington is in a full blown panic over Willard Mitt Romney's tax returns. This Doberman-like tenacity and focus is exactly what the Chicago-based Obama wants from the mainstream media. The Sunday shows spent nearly every second hashing and re-hashing the tax returns.
To date, Romney has released one full year and one estimate, while the most recent year's full return is being completed, expected in October. Once the two years are released, it will be the same number that 2008 Republican nominee John McCain released.
Romney is trapped.
Decline to give any more, and the issue will not die and it looks as if you are hiding something. Give more and you've both shown weakness and given your opponents the rope to hang you. Romney's campaign team is not stupid. There must be some problematic elements to releasing additional tax returns. As George Will said on ABC's This Week on Sunday, "The cost of not releasing the returns is clear. Therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them."
It is time for strategic retreat. Apart from these two years, Romney should release one additional year, in order to appear reasonable and also end the endless debate over this.
What's clear is that Chicago desperately wants to distract voters from focusing on President Barack Obama's economic stewardship and the direction of the country. Right now, perhaps unbeknownst to them, Romney's Boston-based team is helping Chicago distract voters.
It's not fair. It's not right. Mitt Romney is wealthy and we all know it.
Boston should strategically retreat so the mainstream media can finally return to covering both sides of the campaign and move on from this issue, which is helping the Obama campaign negatively define Romney in the quiet period of the summer, before he has access to the general election funds he has raised.
The Romney campaign should release one and only one additional year, then return fire over the Obama administration's executive privilege claim on Operation Fast and Furious. After all, someone died. Slightly more significant than one wealthy person's tax returns.
About Matt Mackowiak President of Potomac Strategy Group
Penny Lee President of Venn Strategies
Brad Bannon President of Bannon Communications Research