WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Bending, halfway, to political pressures, Mitt Romney pledged on Sunday to release his most recent year of tax returns this coming week as well as an estimate for his upcoming filings.
In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," the former Massachusetts governor said his campaign would be putting out tax information for 2010 and projections for 2011 on Tuesday.
"I was planning on releasing them in April when they have been released by other candidates in the past," Romney said to the show's host, Chris Wallace. "But given all the attention that has been focused on tax returns, given the distraction that I think they became in these last couple weeks -- Look, I'm going to make it very clear to you right now, Chris. I will release my tax returns for 2010, which is the last returns that were completed. I will do that on Tuesday this week."
"I will also release at the same time an estimate for 2011 tax returns," Romney added. "So you will have two years; people will have a good look at it. We will put it on the website. And you can go through the pages. I think we just made a mistake in holding off as long as we did. It was a distraction. We want to get back to the real issues in the campaign."
This is undoubtedly a big shift for Romney, who just one month ago was saying he doubted that he would make any tax returns public, only to then say he'd wait until April to do so. But it's also a piecemeal bit of disclosure. One year of tax returns might match the amount that Newt Gingrich has offered (and it bests what Rep. Ron Paul has done) but it falls well short of the standard set by Romney's father when he launched his presidential bid. And it certainly doesn't give voters the type of comprehensive insight into how he made his money and the rate he paid for taxes during his post-Bain Capital career.
"Well that would be more than any other Republican candidate," Romney said, when pressed to disclose more than one year's worth. "I'm not going to go back to my dad's years. That was even before the Internet. We will be putting our returns on the Internet. People can look through them. It will provide, I think, plenty of information for people to understand that the sources of my income are exactly as described in the financial disclosure statements that we put out several months ago."
Appearing on "Meet the Press" on Sunday morning, Newt Gingrich reacted in real time: "I think that’s a very good thing he is doing and I commend him for it," he said, according to a tweet from the show's executive producer, Betsy Fischer.