John McCain wants you to know that there wasn’t something devastating hidden in Mitt Romney’s 20 years of tax returns that stopped McCain from picking Romney over Sarah Palin. The reason McCain didn’t pick Romney, McCain says, is simply because Sarah Palin was a much better candidate. From Politico:
“Of course not,” McCain told POLITICO when asked if the contents of Romney’s tax returns disqualified him from the selection process. “I don’t know what depths these people won’t reach. Obviously, it’s just outrageous. That’s just outrageous. It shows the – it’s so disgraceful for them to allege something that they have absolutely no knowledge of.”
Asked why he chose not to go with Romney, McCain said: “Oh come on, because we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate. Why did we not take [Tim] Pawlenty, why did we not take any of the other 10 other people. Why didn’t I? Because we had a better candidate, the same way with all the others. … Come on, why? That’s a stupid question.”
The “he has nothing to hide, he simply sucked worse than Palin” defense is a definitely a new one, but I guess it is better than having even top conservative pundits speculate Romney has something damaging to hide.
Comedy aside this does highlight why Romney’s refusal to release his earlier tax returns has become such a big political problem. It is not that tax returns themselves are super important; it’s just that a decision not to release them is basically impossible to defend. Even top Republicans, conservative pundits and Romney supporters are struggling to come up with a real defense for Romney’s decision.