When Romney Ripped Harry (Updated)
Mitt Romney is by all accounts a nice guy. But he doesn't appear to be someone to be trifled with.
Mitt Romney gave his most expansive answer yet over questions about his tax returns, telling reporters Thursday he has "never paid less than 13 percent" in taxes over the last 10 years -- contrary to what Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has claimed.
"I did go back and look at my taxes," Romney said during a news conference at a South Carolina airport. "And over the past 10 years, I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 (percent) or something like that."
The response follows months of calls for him to release his returns, including from some top Republicans. However, he has declined to make them public, saying it could give his opponents "more ammunition" against him.
Romney had some choice words Thursday for Reid, calling the accusation by him that Romney didn't pay taxes for a decade "totally false."
"I'm sure waiting for Harry to put up who it was that told him what he says they told him," Romney challenged. "I don't believe it for a minute, by the way."
That's a nice-guy's way of calling someone a bald faced liar.
The Obama campaign, with nothing better to talk about, is now demanding five years of tax returns instead of 10 (for now).
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina made the tax-disclosure offer to Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades in a letter Friday morning. Messina said he was taking the step because Romney "apparently fears the more he offers, the more our campaign will demand that he provide."Romney's wife, Ann, has repeatedly stated that concern in interviews, arguing that the more the couple releases, the more questions are asked.
Which is obviously true. Obama's is a campaign that dishonestly and purposefully read "felon" into old Bain Capital financial documents that have been public information for years, all based on ridiculously shoddy reporting from the appropriately named liberal blog Talking Points Memo. One would think that at least one of the zillions of lawyers around that campaign would have paused long enough to note that TPM's Josh Marshall has no financial background and seldom knows what he's talking about. But then again, this is a campaign whose Treasury secretary can't even run Turbo Tax correctly.
Obama's is a campaign that is hiding behind the noxious Harry Reid on the tax issue, when Reid doesn't even release his own taxes and has a history of fabulism. Obama's is a campaign that has accused Mitt Romney of being a bully, a vampire, a thief, a felon, a murderer and a slaver who would put people "back in chains."
And it's only August.
Update: NRO has the email exchange between Jim Messina of the Obama campaign and Matt Rhoades of the Romney campaign. Notice how narrow Messina's promise not to keep goading Romney if he releases five years of taxes is.
So I am prepared to provide assurances on just that point: if the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more–neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign.
What about super PACs? One of those has already accused Romney of murdering a woman via cancer.