CNN Transcript July 13, 2012
ACOSTA: They've called on you to release more of your tax returns. You've released your 2010 tax return and a 2011 estimate.
Bill Clinton was on the "Today" show today saying that you should release more.
As you know, during the Republican primaries, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry all called for you to release your taxes. Those are leader from both parties saying that you should release more of your taxes.
When are you going to release more of your taxes and how many years?
ROMNEY: I've indicated that -- well, first of all, we've complied with the law. The law requires us to put out a full -- financial disclosure. That I've done.
And then, in addition to that, I've already put out one year of tax returns. We'll put out the next year of tax returns as soon as the accountants have that ready. And that's what we're going to put out.
I know there will always be calls for more. People always want to get more. And, you know, we're putting out what is required plus more that is not required. And those are the two years that people are going to have. And that's -- that's all that's necessary for people to understand something about my finances.
There is no whining in politics. Stop demanding an apology, release your tax returns.
~ John Weaver, a veteran Republican strategist
The drumbeat is building on this, and one doubts it's going to quiet down. You can't run for president and expect to get away with not releasing at least several years' worth of returns. In 2008, Barack Obama released his returns back to 2000, and he wasn't even rich, except for some book royalties.
~ Michael Tomasky on Daily Beast
He not only couldn’t be confirmed as a cabinet secretary, he couldn’t be confirmed as dog catcher. Because a dog catcher, you’re at least going to want to look at his income tax returns.
~ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
I just believe in total transparency. In fact, I was asked today that question — do you think that Governor Romney should release his tax returns? And I said I do. I said, I release my tax returns. I may be the only public official in Alabama that does, but I release mine every year and I just believe that people should release their tax returns. And if you get them out and just get past that, it just makes it so much easier.
~ Republican Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama
Here's a Bentley Team Romney doesn't drive:Alabama governor joins GOPers calling on Mitt to relent & release returns.bit.ly/OFyeAd— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) July 14, 2012
Click Here to Read Massive McCain Campaign 2008 "Opposition File" on Mitt Romney
Sen McCain, Nicolle Wallace, and Steve Schmidt are curiously silent and absent from the cable networks since Romney's taxes are in question.— Keith White (@Keethers) July 14, 2012
@Maddow So if Romney gave McCain his tax returns, wouldn't he still have them? Oh Steve Schmidt....— April (@Dargamogirl) July 14, 2012
Why would you pick Palin over Romney? . . . His failure to release those (tax returns) is a bit of an implicit admission of...guilt. There might not be anything illegal about any of it, but it's certainly not a good economic theory — unless you're a Romney.
~ Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on Buzzfeed
From Brian Beutler on Talking Points Memo
So a lot of Republicans wish Mitt Romney would just get it over with and release several years of tax returns. If you want evidence that Romney’s drowning in the Bain deluge, there it is. His allies think a complete accounting is his only lifeline.
But only a tiny circle of people really know if that’s true. And for my money the one to watch is Steve Schmidt.
Remember, in the VP vetting process Romney gave the McCain campaign over 20 years of tax returns. Schmidt ran that campaign and my hunch is he has the best combination of political smarts and actual knowledge of what’s in the returns to make the call.
Six months ago, he didn’t think it was worth it. Here’s what Schmidt said on MSNBC in January:
I think that he`s the front-runner in the race. I think he`s the most likely person to be the nominee of the party. And I would never advise him to disadvantage himself with issues like his taxes, against what is precedent for campaigns.
I think that he will probably do what presidents and vice presidents typically have done with regard to the release of their taxes. But if it was good enough for John Kerry, it ought to be good enough for Mitt Romney. He shouldn`t release information that disadvantages himself and opens up a lot of attacks.
Republican Pundit Bill Kristol on Fox: "He should release the tax returns tomorrow. It's crazy. You've gotta release 6-8-10 years. Take the hit for a day or two. Then give a serious speech on Thursday in which he says, 'Okay, we've had this ridiculous picayune debate about when I took my leave (from Bain) and when I didn't. You can now look at my tax returns. Now let's have a debate about capitalism.'
Romney Campaign Surrogate Ed Gillespie on CNN: "He took a leave of absence and in fact ended up not going back at all, and retired retroactively to February of 1999."
Republican George Will on ABC's This Week: Mitt Romney's losing it, and he's losing in a big way. If something is going to come out like this, get it out in a hurry. I do not know why, given that Mr. Romney knew the day that McCain lost in 2008 that he was going to run for President again, that he didn't get all of this out and tidy up some of his offshore accounts and all the rest. He's done nothing illegal, nothing unseemly, nothing improper, but lots that's impolitic. And he's now in the politics business.
. . . The Republicans have now nominated someone from the financial sector at a time when the financial sector has a bad odor. Hardly a day goes by - the LIBOR scandal, TARP . . . all of this conditions the atmosphere in which this is occurring.
Chicago mayor and Obama campaign surrogate Rahm Emanuel: Stephanie Cutter cited the law, and it's very clear. Either the filing with the SEC is accurate and his personal financial disclosure is not honest. Or that's honest and the SEC isn't. But both can't be accurate depicting a time when he said he was doing one thing or another.
George Stephanopoulos: He says it was just a formality during the time he was untangling his involvement with Bain.
Rahm Emanuel: George, he has made Bain Capital his calling-card for the Presidency. And when you look at it, it doesn't measure up to what he claims. And number two, on both of those filings, one is accurate and one isn't. And they both have consequences when one is not accurate. And that is what she (Cutter) stated.
And the other thing is, give it up about Stephanie. Don't worry about that. What are you going to do when the Chinese leader says something to you or Putin says something to you? Are you gonna whine as your way? You cannot do that? As Mitt Romney said once to his own colleagues, stop whining! I'd give him his own advice. Stop whining and if you want to claim Bain Capital as your calling card to the White House then defend what happened to Bain Capital. And what happened to those jobs that went overseas, those jobs that were actually cut and eliminated, and those companies that went into bankruptcy.
. . .
Stephanopoulos: The campaign has been pushing hard for Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns. He says the public has everything they need to know to understand his finances, and we do know that Mitt Romney made a lot of money, we know he paid a relatively low tax rate. What more will the returns tell us that we don't know?
Rahm Emanuel: . . . Mitt Romnney's own father said you shouldn't release one year, and in my view he's released one year. . . . transparency and what that says. Okay, to the McCain campaign he released 23 years. And he's telling the American People, okay, I'm not going to give you what I gave John McCain's people in 2008. And when he gave them 23 years, McCain's people looked at it and said let's go with Sarah Palin. So whatever's in there is far worse than just the first year.
The Romney campaign isn't stupid. They've decided it's better to get attacked on lack of transparency, lack of accountability to the American people versus telling you what's in those taxes. They're not enjoying this.
Stephanopoulos: So what do you think is in there?
Rahm Emanuel: He can clear this up, just make it public. . . . he paid 14%, just about half of what a middle-class family pays. Second, we've learned in just one year about The Caymans, about the Bahamas, about Luxembourg, and about Switzerland, all about where his different accounts are. His tax filing looks more like the Olympic village than like a middle-class family. Third, the next four years the President of the United States is going to have tax reform. And you're going to have to debate it with Congress and shape it. And unless you have his taxes, and I've seen this in the Oval Office, George, there's going to be times when a President has to make trade-offs and choices, and will it be the middle class family trying to send their kid to college, or will it be to save the loophole in the Cayman Islands? . . .
He has fully used what is legal in the tax code, and that's the problem with the tax code.
From Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer on CBS
Obama spokesperson Stephanie Cutter said Romney's departure date matters, because his experience at Bain is "his sole rationale for being president."
"If you're signing an SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] document with your own signature that you're the president, C.E.O., chairman of the board and 100 percent owner of a company, in what world are you living in that you're not in charge?" Cutter said Sunday on "Face the Nation."
"If he wasn't the head of it, who was?" she asked.
Romney adviser Kevin Madden said what Romney has also said: that he left the company in 1999.
"The reason there is a document in 2002 that had his signature is, during that transition from 1999 to 2002 where there was transfer of ownership to the new partners of Bain, that there was a duty to sign those documents. But every single - even a bipartisan commission indicated Governor Romney left Bain in 1999," Madden told host Bob Schieffer. "This has been established, yet the Obama campaign, the president himself, continued to pursue these inaccurate statements, and I think it's to the detriment of the public right now."
"It doesn't make any difference that we're arguing the semantics of when Mitt Romney left Bain Capital," Cutter said. "He has put for his sole rationale being president his experience at Bain Capital, and that every decision he'll make as president should be seen through the lens of his experience with Bain Capital, and we're just getting a taste of that, whether it's investing in companies . . . and those investments happened before 1999 when Mitt Romney was, in his words, 'in charge' that became the pioneers in outsourcing, or whether it's investing in companies, loading them up with [debt] and pushing them into bankruptcy and yet you walk away with hundreds of millions of dollars but you're leaving workers without jobs, pensions, health care and companies decimated."
Cutter said Romney's responsibilities at Bain - and when those responsibilities began and ended - are legitimate discussions to have particularly, she said, because the presumptive GOP nominee "put it on the table.
"And the simple point is, if you're telling the SEC you're in charge but you're telling the American people that you bear no responsibility, one of those things is not true," she added.
Referring to Cutter's comment made to reporters last week in which she said an executive misrepresenting his role on SEC documents is a felony, Madden said her suggestion that Romney committed a felony is "troubling."
"First, I think it is very troubling that the president would direct this campaign to label someone like Governor Romney, who is a very good and honorable man, as a felon," Madden said.
Cutter said the Obama campaign is not going to apologize for the comment.
"Just a few months ago in the primary, Mitt Romney said to his opponents, who were crushing him at the time, 'Stop whining.' And that's a good message for the Romney campaign," Cutter said. "Instead of whining about what the Obama campaign is saying, just put the facts out there and let people decide, rather than trying to hide them.
"The tax returns is exactly just about that," Cutter said, pointing to Romney's refusal to release tax returns from before 2010. "If he didn't gain any tax advantages from having investments in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and a Swiss bank account, then show us. Show the American people. What are you hiding?"
Madden said Romney has gone "above and beyond" by releasing his 2010 returns and 2011 estimated taxes.
"Governor Romney has dutifully and according to the law filed all of his financial disclosure requirements. He's gone above the law," he said.
Cutter, however, said Romney's refusal to release his tax returns is an issue of transparency. "This discussion is about transparency and showing the American people what your perspective is and what judgments you're going to make as president," she said.