Does tax return issue still hurt Romney?
August 17th, 2012
05:33 PM ET
2 years ago

Does tax return issue still hurt Romney?

Washington (CNN) – A top Mitt Romney strategist insisted Friday the debate over whether the GOP contender should release more of his tax information has "stopped hurting." But a new report from a recent Wisconsin focus group comes to a different conclusion – suggesting his refusal to shed more light on his finances raises trust issues with pivotal voters.

"It's not new information," was the case made by the senior Romney strategist, who discussed the issue only on condition of anonymity. His take: that voters who are going to be moved by the tax debate have already moved to the Obama column.

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But veteran Democratic pollster Peter Hart's take on his latest Annenberg Center focus group suggest there are still potential downsides for Governor Romney.

Hart's discussion was with 12 suburban women in the Milwaukee area; eight of the 12 were undecided voters, the others split evenly between President Obama and Governor Romney.

Interestingly, Hart said the women had deep respect for the tough choices made by their Republican Gov. Scott Walker – even if they didn't necessarily agree with all of his solutions. Hart wrote most of the women felt Walker "is providing strong leadership and hard choices that these women feel President Obama is failing to make."

But he also said they were not big personal fans of Romney - "suffers from John Kerryitis: he is distant, rich, elite and somebody who makes people feel uncomfortable."

On the tax issue, Romney's refusal to release more information "creates a sense of suspicion and doubt," Hart wrote. "For most of these women the question is, 'what is he hiding, why is he not more forthcoming?"

Other responses: "I look at a president as a leader. This is not how I view a leader.' Others are unconcerned and say, "I don't care.' "

Hart's conclusion on the tax debate: "If voters knew or related to him, this might be less of an issue."

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. vatoloke

    Next the Loop Hole King will 'whiteboard' us with "tax figures".

    August 17, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  2. kathy/Minnesota

    Dishonest,dishonest,dishonest THE ROMNEY'S ARE DISHONEST and we the american people are "small minded" how dare you!!!! you insulted the american people and dont even see it, that is truly out of touch, kinda reminds me of how you turned your lips up at the back yard cookie's.

    August 17, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  3. Aksarbenga

    I'm more worried about how Obama is spending (wasting) MY money than how Romney is spending his. Non issue. Distraction for Obama because he can't run on the results of his presidency. It's a wild failure.

    August 17, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. Sharon

    The IRS accepting his returns has no impact on what he reported on his returns. I have no doubt that Mitt and Ann used every legal deduction and loophole that they could. The issue is what income did they report – especially in 2009 when those Americans sheltering money overseas were given the ability to report the earnings from off shore accounts and report it. They need to release the returns and show what the gross earnings were and how things were then sheltered. I know I want Mitt's financial manager – that 100 Million dollar IRA means he had one heck of a financial genius working for him.

    August 17, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. Jeff in San Diego

    It should hurt him. His own father said candidates who don't release tax returns are hiding something for Pete's sake. Romney did something that most of us would find offensive and his refusal only underlines that fact. If this is your guy, Republicans, good luck with that.

    August 17, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  6. anthony76

    "Four and The Door
    So even though the IRS accepts Mitt Romney's tax returns ( ...and certainly you can imagine they are looked at closely ), people suspect he is doing something wrong. This man had led an exemplary life of values, accomplishment and public service. They are about to be shellacked and they know it. Consider the source."

    Then WHY hasn't he released them?

    The source is allegedly John Huntsman Sr.
    Matter of fact, McCain saw Willard's taxes and choose not to have him as a running mate. Thats pretty telling.
    Lets just face it.. the office of the President requires great character... and Romney just doesn't possess it.
    Obama displays it every single day despite people like you saying the contrary.
    Mitt is a serial liar and a serial flip flopper. and releasing Obama's transcripts isn't going to change that fact.
    Yet releasing Romney's tax docs would answer a lot of the character questions about Mitt, yet he still refuses.

    Like his wife said.. "theres too much in there that the Dems can use against Mitt." THATS coming from his own wife.
    So she's already admitted Mitt has dirt in there that can be used against him.

    Apparently its damaging enough that he'd rather have everyone in the country question his trustworthiness then release info that would PROVE he isnt.

    August 17, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. Independent

    I think that it is simple. I think that the tax returns will show that his extensive money DID generate jobs. The problem is that it is going to show that it generated them at other countries.

    August 17, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  8. vic , nashville ,tn

    Past 60 days we are talking about Romney tax return its hurting him
    Romney and Ann Romney adding something to debate
    Romney likes talking about his tax return then he don’t need to come up with plans for unemployment, economy, Medicare etc

    August 17, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  9. California Gary

    If you'll permit me to have a little fun with this one.........this issue will "dog" Romney right up until election day, no matter how many times he tries to strap it to the roof. Don't roof rack me bro..........

    August 17, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  10. kayla

    mitt is a coward, grow a pair and take the punches

    August 17, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  11. Dou

    If Mitt Romney's release his tax returns...he will go to jail for cheating on uncle same.

    August 17, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  12. JB

    In addition to 8 more years of tax returns, lets see his birth certificate, yeah, that's the ticket!

    August 17, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  13. ClydeTheSlyde

    I think the Obama camp is right for the wrong reason. Mitt is only releasing his returns covering the time the tea party was on the rise. I think he wishes to conceal donations and affiliations with more moderate and left leaning causes prior to 2010 that would alienate the base of the GOP! Mark my words. Mitt is more worried about his own party than the democrats!

    August 17, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  14. Dee

    We don't know what life he has led only what he wants you to see and know. If he is going to work for the American people for the highest office he needs to be honest and release more of his tax returns. He and his wife are so adamant about it he iis beginnnig to sound like a dictator and will not answer any questions.

    How can he talk about changing the tax code we would like to see how he is paying 13% tax show us and if nothing is wrong then we can move on. I guarantee if it had been President Obama everyone would be denigrating him and the airwaves would be saturated.

    August 17, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  15. Debbie

    You want 4 years as President I expect 4 years of tax returns. What you tell me you paid and what your tax forms say may or may not be true. Don't tell me, show me.

    August 17, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  16. Corey

    No. It makes Barry look petty and stupid. Well, even moreso

    August 17, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  17. Old Artillery Man

    Mitt has made a calculated decision. He would be hurt worse by releasing his tax returns than by not releasing them. Amazing, this is the only issue that he has not filled on.

    August 17, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  18. maf

    @ Four, just because the IRS accepts Romney's tax returns does not mean they agree with them. We have no idea what might be going on in terms of audit, proof, etc., but you wouldn't think of that because you accept his looking down at you with absolute faith and shortsightedness.

    August 17, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. CBR

    It is not a case of hurting Romney or lessening of this problem. It is a case of a man running for president who is not willing to make his tax returns public. His overseas investments, Swiss bank accounts and off-shore accounts would be embarrassing. He and his team do not want to have to answer the questions that his tax returns would prompt.
    This certainly does not make one feel that he is honest and forthcoming or that he trusts the American people to base their support on what he says, what he does and how he conducts himself in the public arena.

    August 17, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  20. Squigman

    Nothing hurts Romney, more than his idea that he's better than the other 99%.

    August 17, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  21. Dnick47

    @Four and the Door My My how the tune changes when the shoe is on the other foot. When Clinton was in trouble trying to hide his affairs the Repubs (you too probably) cried, "If there is smoke there is fire!" Now Mitt is hiding things and to many Americans (not just Harry Reid) there seems to be a lot of smoke so there is probably a fire behinf the liarer

    August 17, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  22. Hammerer

    The tax return issue is the only issue that Obama can use.
    His record is the worst in the history and you could probably include all governments worldwide.
    What else does he have? Hate and division and that is about it.

    August 17, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  23. Ray

    You know why mitt doesn't want to release his tax returns? UBS GATE anybody remember that?

    August 17, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  24. AK_steve

    Romney is hiding, lying, cheatin' and stealin'. And all his rich buddies are buyin' an election.

    Don't be fooled America. Romney is a crook.

    August 17, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  25. eddyjames1952

    If Romney has a problem with paying taxes.The Democrats would have invited him to run as a democrat.Insisted he claim to be a Democrat just like Timmy G the head in the fed.

    August 17, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
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