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Obama to Romney: Release  some tax returns and we’ll drop it

Mitt Romney Ann romney

Mitt Romney, Ann romney

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Updated: September 19, 2012 6:11AM



WASHINGTON — Obama campaign manager Jim Messina — in a bid to create a Friday peg to keep the Mitt Romney income tax return story in the news — made an early morning offer to Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades: If Romney releases five years of returns, the Obama team will stop calling for more disclosures.

Messina said release of taxes from 2007 was not “unreasonable.” That would mean Romney puts on the table three more years than currently expected. He has released his 2010 return and has pledged to make public his 2011 returns when they are ready — he filed for an extension.

“I am writing to ask again that the Governor release multiple years of tax returns, but also to make an offer that should address his concerns about the additional disclosures. Governor Romney apparently fears that the more he offers, the more our campaign will demand that he provide. 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,” Messina wrote.

On Thursday, Romney said he has paid a tax rate of at least 13 percent for the past 10 years and that a “fascination” with the matter was “small minded” compared to the big issues in the campaign. Ann Romney has said the couple will not disclose more returns. “The more we release, the more we get attacked,” she told NBC. All it does is provide “ammunition” for “attacks.” 

A short time after the Messina “offer,” Rhoades said no thanks in a “Hey, Jim” note.

“It is clear that President Obama wants nothing more than to talk about Gov. Romney’s tax returns instead of the issues that matter to voters, like putting Americans back to work, fixing the economy and reining in spending,” Rhoades wrote.

Rhoades ended with a “see you in Denver.” That’s a reference to Oct. 3, when Obama and Romney hold the first presidential debate in Colorado.

Read Sweet’s column taking an in-depth look at the income tax issue at suntimes.com/sweet.



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