First, the late-breaking news, from Mitt Romney’s interview this evening with CNN in response to whether he’s going to release more of his tax returns. Per the CNN transcript, he isn’t:
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.
Prediction: Romney has done nothing here to quiet the attacks on him for lack of transparency about his finances, which will continue until he gives in and releases more returns. And this won’t satisfy Republicans who are now publicly saying they want him to get this story behind him.
On to the good stuff:
1. Six million Americans cannot vote becae they are felons or ex-felons. This is in fact a very big story about US democracy…it’s hard to be a real democracy if you disenfranchise large groups of people. By James Ridgeway and Jean Casella.
2. Bain: David S. Bernstein on Mitt Romney signing Bain documents in 2000 and 2001.
3. I’m actually pretty skeptical that the Bain story will be a big deal by September, let alone November. But Jamelle Bouie makes the case for why the Bain story really matters.
4. And Jonathan Chait notes that some Republicans have been reduced to the Sideshow Bob defense: Barack Obama must be a horrible president if he doesn’t lock up a crook like Mitt Romney.
5. A milestone: Steve Benen posts the 25th installment of his regular Friday rundown of Romney's most glaring falsehoods and distortions of the week. And there's still no shortage of material.
6. Campaigns hire lots of people. Those people need something to do. So they do stuff like this: preventing the press from taking pictures of Mitt Romney and Dick Cheney together at a fundraiser Cheney appeared at. The kicker: Think Progress illustrates the piece with…an older picture of Romney and Cheney. All campaigns do stuff like this…it’s supposed to win votes how?
7. Ezra Klein really, really, doesn’t like the current 112th Congress.
8. Jonathan Cohn looks at how the Republicans are have become so opposed to SNAP, the food stamps program, that they’ll trash George W. Bush to stay consistent.
9. Robert Farley on Newt Gingrich’s obsession, an EMP attack: “As a former Weekly Standard editor of my acquaintance said, ‘I don’t go for that EMP stuff. Kind of more interested in dangerous scenarios that might actually happen.’”
10. What the Fed gets wrong about inflation and growth, from Chad Stone.
11. Wow — did Nikki Haley really call preventing domestic violence a distraction from the real work of public health while vetoing funding for it? Amanda Marcotte explains what public health actually consists of to the South Carolina Governor.
12. A reminder that only forty years ago a Republican president did a whole lot more to interfere with the market than Barack Obama has any interest in doing, from Ed Kilgore. The point isn’t that Nixon was a socialist; it’s that the over-the-top rhetoric from conservatives now is just not reality-based.
13. Although Alex Massie notes that exaggerated rhetoric – and apocalyptic reactions to that rhetoric — are nothing new. An essay worth reading.
14. At any rate: a good explainer, with charts, that Barack Obama’s plan would still cut taxes for the wealthy compared to the Clinton-era rates which will be back if nothing is done. Nice item by Travis Waldron.
15. And hey, remember way back yesterday evening when that silly Condi Rice Veepstakes rumor was floated to distract from the Bain stories? Everyone knows that Republicans will never put a pro-choice candidate on the ticket.
But Evan McMorris-Santoro points out that we don’t have to take it on faith: Mitt Romney specifically committed himself to oppose choice with his selection. On video.