By Reid Cherlin, GQ
1. If the Romney people feel like Obama made some major gaffe by admitting yesterday that "you can't change Washington from the inside," why step on that by releasing Romney's 2011 tax return today?
2. Why did they flat-out admit that Romney under-deducted his charitable giving solely "to conform to the Governor's statement in August" that he paid 13 percent or higher each of the last ten years? Shouldn't they have at least tried to let us figure that one out? (Hint: we at GQ wouldn't have.)
3. Isn't it extremely heavy-handed to release a statement from John McCain essentially saying "nothing to see here; let's move on to the real issues"? Talk about looking guilty. They didn't post that one online, so we'll let you chew on it in full here:
Mitt Romney has now released more than 1,200 pages of tax returns, giving voters an incredibly detailed look at his finances. Now that the most recent tax return has been released, it's time to get back to discussing the issues that voters care about. While President Obama and Democrats will try to distract voters, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are focused on fixing the economy, getting Americans back to work and ensuring a better future for our children and grandchildren.
4. Also totally bizarre: releasing a statement by former IRS commissioner Fred Goldberg. Which is literally just his last statement from the last time Romney released his taxes copy-and-pasted into a new press release. To wit:
My reaction following this review is the same as my reaction after reviewing the 2010 returns. As I said then:
"These returns reflect the complexity of our tax laws and the types of investment activity that I would anticipate for persons in their circumstances. There is no indication or suggestion of any tax-motivated or aggressive tax planning activities." In my judgment, they have fully satisfied their responsibilities as taxpayers. They have done so by relying on a highly reputable return preparer and other advisors, who have in turn relied primarily on information provided by third parties to them and to the IRS. The end result of that process has been returns that include a multitude of schedules, IRS forms and accompanying statements that provide appropriate transparency and the proper payment of taxes that Governor and Mrs. Romney owe under current law.
5. And they also released his physician's letter? He eats a high-fiber diet. He does not eat concentrated sweets. He weighs 184. ""He has shown the ability to be engaged in multiple, varied, simultaneous activities requiring complex mental, social emotional and leadership skills." "He appears years younger than his age." Does the campaign think political reporters are just this pack of golden retrievers who will get distracted by the shiniest, silliest flutter of minutiae. Wait, what were we talking about again?
Ok, cool. Seems like the tax issue is over with. Except: the only thing the Romney campaign released today is their 2011 return, for which they'd filed an extension and which they'd always said they'd release. Still no word on all the other years of returns he won't make public. And judging from the maneuvering involved in this one -- claiming an artificially low amount in deductions purely to keep his effective tax rate over 13 percent -- seems like we can go back to suspecting that he definitely has something to hide.
The Mitt Romney comeback strategy appears to be going exactly as planned... or something.
This story originally appeared on GQ.com: What's Weird About Romney's Tax Return Release?
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