The Fix: tax returns

Obama team offers Romney tax return deal: five years

President Obama’s campaign is proposing a grand bargain when it comes to Mitt Romney’s tax returns.

In a letter to Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades early Friday, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina wrote that if Romney releases five years of returns — three more than he currently has agreed to — the Obama campaign will not call on him to release any more.

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Ann Romney: Releasing more taxes would mean more attacks

Ann Romney: Releasing more taxes would mean more attacks

Ann Romney says she and her husband, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have “nothing” they are hiding in their financial record, but won’t be releasing  more tax returns publicly because it will only prompt more attacks.

“We have been very transparent to what’s legally required of us,” Ann Romney told NBC’s “Rock Center” in an interview scheduled to air Thursday evening. “There’s going to be no more tax releases given.”

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Romney on not releasing more tax returns: ‘I’m not a business’

Romney on not releasing more tax returns: ‘I’m not a business’

The man who once said “corporations are people” apparently doesn’t believe the inverse.

When pressed on why he’s not releasing more tax returns in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Mitt Romney justified it by saying: “I’m not a business.”

Bloomberg asked Romney whether, if he was investing in a company, he would want to see more than two years of financial reports, likening that process to the American people electing a president. But Romney suggested the standards aren’t the same for people and businesses.

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Why Mitt Romney is fighting a losing battle against Harry Reid — in 2 charts

Why Mitt Romney is fighting a losing battle against Harry Reid — in 2 charts

We wrote this morning that Senate Majority Harry Reid has picked a fight with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on the latter’s tax returns that the Nevada Democrat will almost certainly win.

Just to put a finer point on that, well, point, we went looking for the latest favorable and unfavorable ratings for both men. Then we put them into two pie charts.

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How Mitt Romney’s tax returns stack up — in 1 chart

Unless you haven’t been paying attention to politics for the past few months, you know by now that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is very wealthy.

But, how does Romney’s wealth — as translated in the political conversation through his tax returns — compare to that of the last few presidents? Thanks to the Sunlight Foundation, the Fix’s new favorite site, we know.

The chart below shows both the year-by-year incomes of and the effective tax rate paid by Romney as well as the last five presidents (including Obama).

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Mitt Romney, his tax returns, and shiny objects

Mitt Romney isn’t releasing his tax returns. That’s his decision, and his campaign is sticking to it (at least for now).

And really, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

Romney’s general election campaign, from day one, has taken the long view. When the waters get choppy, his response is almost uniformly to not panic, hope to ride it out, and stay focused on the long-term campaign (and more specifically, the economy). In other words: to avoid the shiny objects.

But is that a successful strategy in the era of not just 24-hour news, but 24-hour political news?
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures during a campaign stop on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 in Bowling Green, Ohio. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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