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In asking (again) for Romney to release tax returns,
Obama just looking for “more fodder for [his] distraction machine”

Early today, Barack Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina released a letter asking that Mitt Romney release only “five years of returns” offering the assurance that if he does so, he commits “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“:

To provide these five years, the Governor would have to release only three more sets of returns in addition to the 2010 return he has released and the 2011 return he has pledged to provide.  And, I repeat, the Governor and his campaign can expect in return that we will refrain from questioning whether he has released enough or pressing for more.

What the Democrat doesn’t commit to is refraining from using the returns to attack the presumptive Republican nominee, leading Erika Johnsen (one of the bloggers who alerted me to the story) to conclude that 

Wow… Team Obama really wants those tax returns. Whether they believe there’s actually something really damning in them (which I highly doubt), or because they know thatwhatever’s in them they’ll be able to twist into more cheap, populist, class-warmongering appeals (which I highly suspect), they are really hankering for more fodder for their distraction machine.

Read the whole thing.  To be sure, the Obama campaign is trying to make it sound like they’re the reasonable ones here, scaling back their demands for more tax returns. But, Johnsen gets it, what they’re really showing is just how desperate they are to get those returns.  They  just want Romney to help them out in providing fodder for their distraction machine, a shiny object to dangle in front of reporters to keep their political opponent on defense.

ADDENDUM:  The Obama campaign has made clear they intend to use the issue of Romney’s tax returns to attack the presumptive Republican nominee.

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40 Comments

  1. Sorry . . .I’m really not meaning to pick on you Dan. But you were you this annoyed by the Republicans asking for Obama’s birth certificate?

    Comment by Another_Jeremy — August 17, 2012 @ 7:12 pm - August 17, 2012

  2. Um, Another_Jeremy, did the RNC, any member of the congressional Republican leadership or a Republican presidential campaign ask for the birth certificate?

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — August 17, 2012 @ 7:14 pm - August 17, 2012

  3. Um Dan, which of the following is more standard. A Presidential candidate releasing his birth certificate or his tax returns?

    Comment by Another_Jeremy — August 17, 2012 @ 7:26 pm - August 17, 2012

  4. I think they have the returns already, but can’t use anything (yet, anyway) until Romney releases them publicly – that’s pretty much the Obama MO anyway, illegally get access to the records if they can’t do so legally, and destroy their opponent.

    And why should anyone be annoyed with the call for Obama’s Birth Certificate. According to the reasoning used by Reid and Wasserman-Schultz, it makes perfect sense. And why did it take over three years for him to release it (and over 15 to catch the error in his author bio) if he, to again paraphrase Reid and DWS, had nothing to hide?

    See, that’s the problem with this kind of action, people REMEMBER how many of his own documents Obama has kept secret — asking Romney to release anything is the very height of arrogance. Someone should make a tit for tat, Obama’s campaign wants the tax returns? Fine, Obama can release his school transcripts, his thesis, his Senate Schedule, etc.

    Amazing I know more about Ryan after his being tapped for candidate for VP than I do about Obama … after the latter being President nearly four years. Yeah, nothing strange there.

    Thanks for posting!

    Comment by Acethepug — August 17, 2012 @ 7:32 pm - August 17, 2012

  5. And I guess they didn’t ask for it directly . . .but they sure did fuel the fire started by the morons.

    Mike Coffman
    After saying he didn’t know where Obama was born.
    “in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.”

    David Vitter

    “I personally don’t have standing to bring litigation in court, but I support conservative legal organizations and others who would bring that to court. I think that is the valid and most possibly effective grounds to do it.”

    Nathan Deal

    “I am joining several of my colleagues in the House in writing a letter to the President asking that he release a copy of his birth certificate so we can have an answer to this question.

    Richard Shelby

    “Well his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven’t seen any birth certificate.”

    Michelle Bachmann

    “I’ll tell you one thing, if I was ever to run for president of the United States, I think the first thing I would do in the first debate is offer my birth certificate, so we can get that off the table.”

    Comment by Another_Jeremy — August 17, 2012 @ 7:38 pm - August 17, 2012

  6. How about instead of expecting Obama to release his high school transcript . . .you should release his tax returns. Oh wait. He did.

    Care to try again? Or are you content to just keep moving the goal posts and acting like Presidential candidates releasing several of their tax returns isn’t a long-standing tradition?

    Comment by Another_Jeremy — August 17, 2012 @ 7:42 pm - August 17, 2012

  7. Like G. Will said, Obama will say anything about Romney at this point because he has nothing to say for himself.

    Comment by Sharp_Right_Turn — August 17, 2012 @ 7:55 pm - August 17, 2012

  8. Okay. So. Conservative economic theory. The way I understand it, conservatives believe that wealthy people are job producers and should therefore pay very low tax rates, so that wealthy job creators have more money to invest in their companies and various business ventures. According to conservatives, the problem plaguing the economy at the moment, among other things, is that the United States government is overtaxing these wealthy job producers and thus, not enough jobs are being created. Further, conservatives argue that wealthy people, overtaxed as they are, seek out tax loopholes and various other accounting tricks to compensate for the loss of income at the hands of the overbearing federal government. The resolution is to cut taxes for rich people and to close the loopholes, at which point the wealthy will start investing all of this freed up cash in the economy, thereby creating so many new jobs that government revenue actually increases.

    So, Mitt Romney, the wealthy conservative business man comes along and decides he’s going to run for President. Now if conservative economic theory holds true, you would expect that Mitt Romney would be eager to release his tax records. Why not? He could cut commercials, he could talk about them on the stump, he could give long presentations where he showed in detail exactly how oppressive is the tax law and demonstrate with real numbers and examples exactly how many jobs he could have created had the government not stolen his money out of his back pocket….

    Instead, he refuses to release him, and says things like ‘I haven’t paid less than 13%’ believing, inexplicably, that that’s supposed to be reassuring. Now if you’re a conservative, this should be very confusing, because 13% isn’t a very high percentage at all. My guess is that 95% of the people on this website are paying somewhere around 3 times that. And we still have to entertain the idea that the wealthy are paying too much in taxes? Conservatives honestly argue this point while insisting that Romney keeps his tax receipts a secret. As usual, nobody wants to put their money with the mouth is. And that’s just the rate – wouldn’t we all like to know what little tricks Romney’s wealthy accountants are doing with his money to get the rate that lower? Oh, well, maybe some of us would. Conservatives, with their myths to defend, want anything but.

    The assertion that this is a distraction is ridiculous. What could be more relevant? Liberals assert that the wealthy aren’t paying enough, conservatives argue that they’re paying too much, what more could we ask for than a wealthy Presidential candidate to come along and settle the score? By no means is he required to release his taxes, but it says worlds about him and his ideology that he refuses to talk about them. A real distraction is demanding to see the President’s birth certificate and college transcripts. These are utterly meaningless distractions, and conservative’s subconsciously recognize them as such – that’s why they similarly dismiss calls for Romney’s taxes. But the wealth distribution and the tax burden are two tremendously important economic issues at the moment, and whether or not a leading Presidential candidate is a tax cheat pitching a self-serving ideology is something that I think we should all know.

    Comment by Levi — August 17, 2012 @ 7:58 pm - August 17, 2012

  9. Again, I ask, what could possibly be in Mitt Romney’s tax returns that is relevant to his agenda as president?

    Comment by V the K — August 17, 2012 @ 8:00 pm - August 17, 2012

  10. Romney should counteroffer: He’ll release the extra 3 years in return for Obama’s college records, long-form birth certificate and medical records.

    which of the following is more standard. A Presidential candidate releasing his birth certificate or his tax returns?

    Which of the following is more standard. A Presidential candidate claiming to be Kenyan on his own literary bio for a decade, or always having claimed consistently to be an American?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 17, 2012 @ 8:01 pm - August 17, 2012

  11. If Romney had anything wrong in his tax returns, he’d have been caught. After all, the guy who runs the IRS is an expert at tax evasion.

    Comment by V the K — August 17, 2012 @ 8:04 pm - August 17, 2012

  12. expecting Obama to release his high school transcript

    No, Another_Jeremy: College records. Not high school… but college. You know… those records that are going to likely show that Obama has always been a raving Marxist… and never very bright… and that MAY, possibly, also show that He lied in order to get scholarship money… Those records. The ones that you absolutely do NOT want released.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 17, 2012 @ 8:18 pm - August 17, 2012

  13. As for Levi’s blather: There just isn’t enough time in the day. Someone else can step up.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 17, 2012 @ 8:20 pm - August 17, 2012

  14. Someone else can step up.

    Why bother? He basically is admitting that the Obama People want Mitt Romney’s tax returns so that they can further their class warfare agenda by accusing him of being part of the rich who “don’t pay enough.” (Because, of course, the problem with our country isn’t that Government spends too much, it’s that people who have made some money greedily believe it to be theirs and not the property of the the Government to do with as Obama pleases.)

    Comment by V the K — August 17, 2012 @ 8:32 pm - August 17, 2012

  15. As for Levi’s blather: There just isn’t enough time in the day. Someone else can step up.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 17, 2012 @ 8:20 pm – August 17, 2012

    Please, STOP stepping up with this a–hole.
    How about this: stop engaging him as if he presents anything that’s worthwhile or well considered, which he NEVER does.
    How long does it take to figure out that he’s emboldened, being the petulant little prick that he is, every time someone responds to him with anything other than the absolute ridicule that he deserves?
    What he really needs to have his ignorant ass kicked from pillar to post and then be locked in a basement with nothing but bread and water for a month or two (as an antidote to all of that self-esteem horseshit that’s been lavished on him by moronic adults for his entire worthless life).

    Comment by jman1961 — August 17, 2012 @ 8:33 pm - August 17, 2012

  16. Dunno, jman. I see your point. But… Kicking his ignorant ‘points’ can be fun… sometimes.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 17, 2012 @ 8:40 pm - August 17, 2012

  17. Or it’s because Levi can form arguments well and isn’t afraid to tout them on a website that espouses views wholly contradictory to his own. Perhaps you should go on some liberal websites and see how some of the inane codswallop that passes for “comments” on this site holds up.

    Comment by Another_Jeremy — August 17, 2012 @ 8:44 pm - August 17, 2012

  18. Levi can form arguments well

    ROTFLMAO :-) :-) Please, you’re killing me! :-) (ILC wipes tears)

    the inane codswallop that passes for “comments” on this site

    Well then, Another_Jeremy, you can have no good reason to be here, can you? Since you are SO far above us, why hang out with us? Seriously. If you try to look at that question with a fearless and honest logic, you might find your worldview unravelling, so maybe you shouldn’t.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 17, 2012 @ 8:47 pm - August 17, 2012

  19. Hi, ILC!
    I have no problem ‘debating’, if it’s productive. Sandhorse and Sonicfrog are two that come to mind.
    But the narcissistic and militantly ignorant types like Stupidity and Levi (The Universe’s Foremost Constitutional Scholar and World History Expert)……..forget it. Trying to get these stupid bastards to consider anything other than the Marxist notions that crowd their feverish ‘minds’ is exactly akin to shoveling s**t against a tsunami.

    Comment by jman1961 — August 17, 2012 @ 8:52 pm - August 17, 2012

  20. And we can add Another_Jerkoff to the ‘Narcissistic, Militantly Ignorant (and proud of it) list.

    Comment by jman1961 — August 17, 2012 @ 8:54 pm - August 17, 2012

  21. To call Levi’s “arguments” twaddle would be an insult to twaddle.

    Comment by V the K — August 17, 2012 @ 9:03 pm - August 17, 2012

  22. V, nailed it!

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 17, 2012 @ 9:10 pm - August 17, 2012

  23. The Tax Returns are also a useful distraction from some inconvenient facts like General Electric paid $0 in taxes last year despite receiving billions in taxpayer dollars, and its President is part of Obama’s inner circle.

    Or the fact that prominent Democrat Jon Corzine will not be prosecuted by the Obama administration, despite stealing over a billion dollars from investors to cover his bad bets on European treasuries.

    Or the fact that one of Joe Biden’s cronies got $20 M in taxpayer funds to start a luxury car dealership in Ukraine.

    Yeah, instead let’s make a scandal about what Mitt Romney legally did with money he earned.

    Comment by V the K — August 17, 2012 @ 9:10 pm - August 17, 2012

  24. How strange. My #22 was written after, and refers to, the comment that *followed* it (V #23).

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 17, 2012 @ 9:12 pm - August 17, 2012

  25. The left now claims the reason for releasing the returns is to show how unjust the tax laws are, how slanted they are towards the rich. They want to hold his returns up for all to see the error of our ways.. (see #8)

    There are two very large grand canyon sized problems with that current theory.

    1 – Get every Hollywood Obama supporter, Mr. Buffett and Mr. Soros to release 10 years of their tax returns. We will see all the accounting “tricks” the left uses.
    2- Obama, Pelosi and Reid had 2 full years of legislative control to remove these accounting “tricks” but instead Obama played golf. If this was such a pressing issue for Obama, don’t you think he would have stayed in the Oval office and hammered out a more fair and just tax code? A quick read of Obama’s Senatorial career shows no legislation put forth to correct theses “unjust” tax tricks.

    Therefore, the liberal argument to release more than the returns required in order to see how unjust the tax code is, in fact, a big fat your pants are on fire lie!

    Thank you, Levi for making that crystal clear. Perhaps you and Jeremy can send Obama some of your welfare money. I heard he is hurting for cash.

    Comment by TnnsNe1 — August 17, 2012 @ 9:28 pm - August 17, 2012

  26. Um, Another_Jeremy, none of those folks are members of the Republican leadership.

    And in ]your initial comment, you do seem to suggest that the Obama campaign’s motivations in asking for Romney’s tax returns are akin to the motivations of the “birthers”.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — August 17, 2012 @ 9:37 pm - August 17, 2012

  27. I don’t recall Michael Moore complaining about “Corporate Welfare” when he took his huge subsidy from the state of Michigan to make part of one his propaganda pieces there. Nor do I recall Michael Moore complaining about “outsourcing” when he made movies in Canada to take advantage of cheap, non-union labor.

    Comment by V the K — August 17, 2012 @ 9:46 pm - August 17, 2012

  28. Obama, Pelosi and Reid had 2 full years of legislative control to remove these accounting “tricks” but instead Obama played golf. If this was such a pressing issue for Obama, don’t you think he would have stayed in the Oval office and hammered out a more fair and just tax code? A quick read of Obama’s Senatorial career shows no legislation put forth to correct theses “unjust” tax tricks.

    Also, if I recall correctly, Paul Ryan’s plan actually involves a reform of the tax code and closes some of the loopholes that allow wealthy people to pay less than they otherwise would. So, yeah, that would be a great line of attack for Democrats to use (for Republicans).

    Comment by Rattlesnake — August 17, 2012 @ 10:05 pm - August 17, 2012

  29. It seems clear to me that this is nothing but a distraction. The Obama campaign is fishing for dirt, not the illegal kind but that which can be exploited to stoke envy and resentment for a campaign of class warfare. I for one have no need of this. I already know that Romney is rich. He is VERY rich. He has more money than I could ever hope to earn or even see in several lifetimes. Big whoop. My objections to the man are that I view his political character as being akin to a used car salesman, not how much money he has in the bank(s). By the same token, my objection to Obama rests not on his own membership of the elite but instead on the man’s utter incompetence. If the objective here is to goad voters like myself into voting for either man because of petty issues like tax returns, college transcripts, etc. it’s a complete waste of time. But this is American politics so I know how we love to focus on these absurdities so have at it I suppose. November can’t get here fast enough…

    Comment by JohnAGJ — August 17, 2012 @ 10:31 pm - August 17, 2012

  30. Yup.

    Furthermore, what we also see here is how Another_Jeremy and Levi are now screaming and complaining that dodging taxes is wrong, reducing your tax bill is wrong, and not paying taxes is wrong.

    Except for Obama and his staff.

    Except for Obama and his donors.

    Except for Obama Party leaders.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 17, 2012 @ 10:42 pm - August 17, 2012

  31. And I’m not even finished yet.

    Another_Jeremy and his fellow Obama talking-points bigot Levi also:

    Have no problem with Obama Party politicians dodging taxes on their yachts.

    Have no problem with Obama Party politicians dodging taxes on their private planes.

    Have no problem with Obama Party politicians dodging taxes on their DC condos.

    So if the screaming and crying Another_Jeremy and Levi are so obsessed with taxes, making sure the wealthy pay “enough”, and keeping people who cheat out of government, they can start in their own Obama Party with the tax cheats already exposed therein.

    And since the Barack Obama Party FULLY endorses and supports every single one of the people I have illustrated, and FULLY stands behind each of the ones that is running for election, what we can see is that any whining or screaming or crying about Mitt Romney’s taxes is utter, complete, obvious, and BLATANT hypocrisy.

    Care to get some credibility back by condemning your Obama Party, Another_Jeremy and Levi?

    Or are you just going to run away and refuse to answer?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — August 17, 2012 @ 10:49 pm - August 17, 2012

  32. Speaking of corrupt Democrats the MFM are notably incurious about:

    http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2011/09/nut-doesnt-fall-far-from-tree-wasserman.html

    Comment by V the K — August 18, 2012 @ 11:08 am - August 18, 2012

  33. ÍLC
    To take your comments further, there is a village in Kenya in which the welcome sign claims to be the birth place of Barak Obama. Moreover, his half brother in Kenya also. Asking to make public his college applications will resolve the doubt. Did he apply for admission and ask for grants in aid as a foreign student? Was his admission on a quota system? Transcripts would be helpful to know if his grades reflect that he is the genius that he claims to be although we´ll never know if they were inflated because of his minority status.

    Comment by Roberto — August 18, 2012 @ 2:50 pm - August 18, 2012

  34. Half brother also claims that Barak was born in that Kenyan village.

    Comment by Roberto — August 18, 2012 @ 2:51 pm - August 18, 2012

  35. It is obvious that the Obama campaign do not wish to discuss the economic situation nor his promise to Putin that after the election he could be more flexible sic.
    So they would love to go line by line on Romney tax returns and they insist to look at ten, five years, the more the merrier..¿Why should
    Romney play their game. What gives the right to ANY ONE to demand different of what the law estipulted.
    In the last anslysis Romney paid as all Americans the tax according to the law .
    There are many pressing problems, unemployment, world affairs,
    The need to stop energy dependance …you name it,

    Does any one think for a second that the IRS has given Romney a pass?

    Comment by Guy — August 18, 2012 @ 4:28 pm - August 18, 2012

  36. Has Obama released his medical records yet? I seem to recall he dodged that last time by simply producing a doctor’s certificate to say he was healthy enough to stand for office. (McCain produced a screed of medical info.) Just askin’.

    Comment by Kanga — August 18, 2012 @ 6:03 pm - August 18, 2012

  37. Birth certificate vs tax returns. BOTH are a DISTRACTION! Obama camp WANTS us to talk about this stuff to keep us from talking about his record over the last 3 years. I say ENOUGH ALREADY! Obama doesn’t want us to talk about his talking points and that he has failed to do everything he promised over the last 4 years except to make energy prices higher. He has failed when he said he would unite us. He has failed when he went to Tucson and talked about civility. He has failed to cut the budget and reduce the deficit in half. He has failed to lower unemployment at least in this country. As far as I can see he has created 2 jobs in the last 4 years, 1 his caddy and 2 the guy holding the duct tape for Joe’s mouth opps have to give him credit for 3 jobs, he now has an editor for media outlets covering Joe on the campaign trail. Other than that the last 3 + years have cost the American taxpayers years of recovery. This is NOT how you lead a country into prosperity, but how you divide and crush a Super power into being another 3d world country.

    Comment by Kevin — August 19, 2012 @ 5:03 am - August 19, 2012

  38. Some very good points, if I may add two more…

    1) Let us not forget a) The Obamacertificate attack came from the left (i.e. Hillary) and b) There was similar controversy about Sen. McCain from the left.

    2) Somehow the press got a hold of Gov Romney’s high school grade card, but they can’t finde a single Obamacollegerecord?

    Oh and bonus:
    3) The administration has admitted that Fast and Furious took place under executive order. I’m pretty sure Gov. Romney’s tax returns aren’t hiding the death of 300+ people.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 20, 2012 @ 7:55 am - August 20, 2012

  39. It is obvious that the Obama campaign do not wish to discuss the economic situation nor his promise to Putin that after the election he could be more flexible sic.
    So they would love to go line by line on Romney tax returns and they insist to look at ten, five years, the more the merrier..¿Why should
    Romney play their game. What gives the right to ANY ONE to demand different of what the law estipulted.
    In the last anslysis Romney paid as all Americans the tax according to the law .
    There are many pressing problems, unemployment, world affairs,
    The need to stop energy dependance …you name it,

    Does any one think for a second that the IRS has given Romney a pass?

    Even if everything is on the up and up, the huge amount of deductions and special treatment that the wealthy get for themselves when it comes to taxes would shock the average voter. That’s why Democrats ask him to release them, that’s why Romney refuses. Whether or not this is a good thing, voters think that being able to relate to a Presidential candidate is a good thing, and that’s one thing that Mitt Romney will never have over Obama thanks to his enormous wealth.

    But that’s just the election year politics behind it. Romney also can’t release his taxes because it would dispel all the myths about economic policy that conservatives have been peddling for decades. You want to know where the deficit comes from? Mitt Romney and his 15% tax rate are a big giant clue.

    Comment by Levi — August 20, 2012 @ 12:23 pm - August 20, 2012

  40. And Levi fails economics forever.

    Then again, given that levi lies in the face of facts, this doesn’t surprise anyone.

    Now hush Levi, the adults are talking.

    Comment by The_Livewire — August 20, 2012 @ 12:42 pm - August 20, 2012

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