Romney Self Destructs and Turns All Attention Back to His Tax Returns

Last updated on August 13th, 2012 at 05:43 pm

It took the Romney campaign less than 24 hours to screw up their big VP announcement, and turn the attention back to why Romney won’t release his tax returns.

Here is the video from Media Matters:

Transcript from ABC News:

PAWLENTY: Well, I hope it’s absolutely true. When you’re the president of the United States and you’ve got all — no accomplishments, and the ones you do have are unpopular, like a porky stimulus, like Obamacare, like relentless calls for tax increases, a foreign policy that, you know, was set based on the notion that we’re going to have a reset with Russia that hasn’t worked, you know, the strain that he has in his relations with Israel, pulling out the rug from underneath the Czech Republic and Poland on missile defense, what is he going to run on? He’s got a record basically of things that are unpopular, didn’t work, an economy that’s sputtering, high unemployment.

So we’d like to see this get back to the issues and not have him just dangle shiny objects like 20-year-old tax returns or, you know, collateral issues like you’ve seen in these last couple of weeks. So we would welcome, especially with Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan having the advantage, a debate on the issues and the big challenges and the big solutions that these candidates are willing to put forward on behalf of our country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You did bring up the tax returns. How many years of tax returns did you provide to the Romney campaign?

PAWLENTY: Well, I don’t know the exact number, George, but I — you know, there were several years, I believe.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Several years. So more than two?

PAWLENTY: Well, we don’t get into the details of the vetting process, but I — I gave them a bunch of tax returns. I don’t remember the exact number of years.

Pawlenty got way off message, brought up Romney’s tax returns, and blew up everything the campaign was trying to accomplish. Pawlenty quickly tried to cover his tracks, but the damage was done. The interview ended with questions about Romney’s tax returns. The story isn’t Paul Ryan now. It is Mitt Romney’s hypocrisy when it comes to requiring seeing tax returns for others, but not releasing his own.

Romney obviously understands the importance of tax returns in the vetting process, so why does he continue to refuse to release his tax returns and allow voters to vet him for the presidency? As has become par for the course with his campaign, Mitt Romney doesn’t seem to think that the rules apply to him.

The Romney campaign has become a daily gaffe fest. Whether it is Andrea Saul, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty or Romney himself, this is a mistake riddled campaign that can’t avoid self injury.

A day after after Paul Ryan to the ticket, Romney is back where he started. He is still trailing Obama, and the dominant question of the campaign remains his tax returns.

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Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements. Awards and  Professional Memberships Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association

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