The Washington Times - August 17, 2012, 08:21AM

Mitt Romney addressed the seemingly never-ending issue of his tax returns Thursday, saying that for the past 10 years, he never paid less than 13 percent of his income in taxes. The response from many Democrats? We’ll believe it when we see it.

But in a letter to Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades dated Aug. 17, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina wrote that if Mr. Romney issues three additional returns — having already released his 2010 returns and an estimate for 2011 — the campaign would cease fire on the issue dogging the former Massachusetts governor.


“Governor Romney apparently fears that the more he offers, the more our campaign will demand that he provide,” Mr. Messina wrote. “So I am prepared to provide assurances on just that point: if the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more — neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign.”

Mr. Messina goes on to write that the five years of releases would cover all the years Mr. Romney has been a presidential candidate, and “would also help answer outstanding questions raised by the one return he has released to date, such as the range in the effective rates paid, the foreign accounts maintained, the foreign investments made, and the types of tax shelters used.”

Mr. Messina’s offer comes soon after Mr. Romney’s wife, Ann, reiterated those exact same concerns: the more returns he releases, the more he’ll be pressed for.

“[T]he more we release, the more we get attacked, the more we get questioned, the more we get pushed,” she said in an interview with NBC News that aired Wednesday. “And so we have done what’s legally required and there’s going to be no more, there’s going to be no more tax releases given. And there’s a reason for that, and that’s because of … what happens as soon as we release anything.”

Mr. Rhoades quickly responded to the offer:

Hey Jim,

Thanks for the note.

It is clear that President Obama wants nothing more than to talk about Governor Romney’s tax returns instead of the issues that matter to voters, like putting Americans back to work, fixing the economy and reining in spending.

If Governor Romney’s tax returns are the core message of your campaign, there will be ample time for President Obama to discuss them over the next 81 days.

In the meantime, Governor Romney will continue to lay out his plans for a stronger middle class, to save Medicare, to put work back into welfare, and help the 23 million Americans struggling to find work in the Obama economy.

See you in Denver.


Matt Rhoades

Romney for President