Mitt Romney managed to do the impossible today. He bombed on Fox News by turning a softball question on his tax returns into a total word salad disaster.
Here is the video from Fox News:
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Everything was going fine for Mitt Romney on Fox and Friends. Gretchen Carlson and crew were mixing lies about President Obama with his campaign’s talking points. Everything was just dandy for Mitt, until the topic of his tax returns came up.
Eric Bolling asked Romney if he thought releasing his tax returns would be a good way to go on offense, and the Republican nominee replied, “John McCain ran for president and released two years of tax returns. John Kerry ran for president, and his wife, who has hundreds of millions of dollars, she never released her tax returns. Somehow this wasn’t an issue. The Obama people keep on wanting more and more and more, more things to pick through, more things for their opposition research to try and make a mountain out of and distort and to be dishonest about.”
At that moment, Romney managed to do the impossible. He became a Republican who bombed on Fox News. Here is what the Romney campaign doesn’t grasp. The media has now gotten a hold of the tax returns issue, and they are demanding answers. (No, Mitt. Trying to change the subject to Fast and Furious is not going to work.)
Here’s how Yahoo! News’s The Ticket wrote up Romney’s Fox and Friends visit, “Romney slams Obama’s ‘dishonest’ attacks, rejects calls to release more tax returns” Politico ran with the headline, “Romney-world changes the subject” On ABC News the headline is, “For Mitt Romney, The Tax Questions Cometh“.
When a Republican appears on Fox News, especially peppy propaganda outlet Fox and Friends, and manages to escalate to the conversation on the subject that he is trying to avoid talking about, that is a disaster.
Mitt Romney is starting reach unprecedented territory here. He might be the first Republican that even Fox News couldn’t save. The media is going to keep asking about the tax returns, and Romney is going to doggedly try to run out the clock on the 2012 election.
The answer to why Mitt Romney won’t release more tax returns is obvious, and it isn’t just that he is very rich. It isn’t that he paid a very low tax rate. The longer his campaign goes without releasing more returns, the clearer it becomes that there is something in them that could seriously damage his campaign.
It isn’t that Mitt Romney won’t release his tax returns. It is more probable that he can’t release his tax returns and remain a viable candidate for the presidency.
Romney’s invoking of John Kerry’s wife as political cover was borderline insane, because Mrs. Kerry wasn’t running for president in 2004. Her candidate husband actually released two decades of tax returns to the public. John McCain has filed disclosure forms for his entire public life. His finances are well known.
Mitt Romney’s answer to Eric Bolling was an admission that he can’t use his tax returns to go on the offensive against Obama. The best that he can do is to try to change the subject. Fox News threw Mitt Romney softballs for seven minutes, and on the most important meatball over the heart of the plate, he struck out swinging.
Romney accomplished the impossible. He went on Fox News and made the situation worse.