If the Romney campaign thought the naming of a running mate would cause the media to move on from the issue of Romney’s tax returns, they were sadly mistaken. As long as Romney refuses to release more than what has only been a single incomplete tax return, the issue will hound him. It will be asked of him, his running mate, his surrogates and even his wife. From NBC Rock Center:
The criticism that plagued the Romneys during the 2008 campaign has continued, particularly in regards to their reported $250 million fortune and the issue of their tax returns.
When pressed by Morales, Mrs. Romney stood her ground. “We have been very transparent to what’s legally required of us,” she said. “There’s going to be no more tax releases given.”
Mrs. Romney said if they release any more information, “it will only give them more ammunition.”
In regards to their finances, she said “there’s nothing we’re hiding.”
Unlike some complex policy debates this issue is very easy for people to relate to: “Romney refuses to provide tax returns like most candidates, so what is Romney hiding?” That is why it is not going to go away unless Romney finally relents and release more returns.
The problem for Romney is that his campaign simply can’t come up with a good reason for not disclosing them, which only feeds the opinion that he is hiding something and causes the question to be asked over and over again. Even Ann Romney’s defense for a question she should have been prepared for lacks basic internal logic. You can’t both claim you aren’t hiding anything and also claim that releasing the returns would give the other side “more ammunition.”
If there is something in the returns that you think the other side can use as ammunition and you don’t want them to find out about it, you are by definition hiding something.