Fox News Channel’s Brit Hume weighed in on the matter Monday night, telling host Bill O’Reilly, “I don’t see any evidence that this is making a difference, but you know, anytime it’s disclosure versus non-disclosure, you always wonder whether it isn’t better to just put it out there.”
The two join Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R), former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour (R), and conservative commentators George F. Will and William Kristol in suggesting that the best move for Romney is to release the information.
The fight over Romney’s tax returns is part of a battle being waged by the candidates to control the turf on which the broader campaign is to play out.
For Obama, the goal is to focus on Romney’s private-sector background — a point on which the president hammered his GOP rival at a fundraiser Tuesday afternoon.
Romney’s “main calling card for wanting to be president is his private-sector experience, so we asked the voters to examine that experience,” Obama said at his first fundraiser of the day, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, where he addressed a luncheon crowd of 1,200, including many Latino supporters.
At a rally in Pennsylvania, Romney seized on a remark Obama made during a campaign stop in Virginia last week to make his case that the president is ill-equipped to fix the country’s economy.
“He said this: ‘If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,’ ” Romney told the 700-member crowd at Horizontal Wireline, referring to Obama. “That somebody else is government, in his view.”
Romney added that he thinks the president wants Americans to be “ashamed of success” and that Obama is “changing the nature of America.”
“I find it extraordinary that a philosophy of that nature would be spoken by a president of the United States,” Romney said.
But just as the messaging battle has ramped up, so, too, have some of the envelope-pushing attacks from both sides.
Last week, the Obama campaign released a hard-hitting ad that appeared to question Romney’s patriotism and featured footage of the candidate singing.
On Tuesday, former New Hampshire governor John Sununu (R), a top Romney surrogate, suggested in a conference call with reporters that Obama doesn’t understand how the U.S. economy works.
“I wish this president would learn how to be an American,” Sununu said.
He later offered a clarification: “What I thought I said, but what I didn’t say, is the president has to learn the American formula for creating business.”
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David Nakamura in Texas, Nia-Malika Henderson in Pennsylvania and Chris Cillizza in Washington contributed to this report.