Does tax return issue still hurt Romney?
August 17th, 2012
05:33 PM ET
6 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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Follow John King on Twitter: @JohnKingCNN

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."

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Randy, San Francisco

    Until Romney releases his tax returns, his character and truthfulness will be in question.

    August 17, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  2. Iconoclast

    @fourdoor- I would never rely upon the IRS to determine a man's character and integrity, that's something only we can judge. It isn't about being "legal" it's about revealing the deep cynicism people like Romney display when they throw out jingoisms like" Believe in America". This man in reality is anything but a believer in America! His taxes will demonstrate that.

    August 17, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  3. gord

    al capone considered himself a good business man to –his taxes did him in

    August 17, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  4. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Four you don't know. So stop pretending you do. Neither do I... Mitt could clean this up in an instant. I DO know that the issue is hurting him and his wife basically admitted that the release of the taxes would be an issue. So one is left to conclude that there IS something damaging in the returns. Just like if it would have been known that GWB was a drunk; it's doubtful that he would have made it out of the primary. He's running for President. The electorate has a right to know who they're voting for.

    August 17, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    He's a liar and verrrryyy secretive. My family doesn't trust him and won't vote for him.

    If tax cuts create jobs, why did he put his money overseas and not keep it here to create jobs and help his country? Is the un-American? Anti-America? Why is his money in foreign accounts?

    August 17, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  6. ron

    ROFLMAO!! Another terrible mis-calculation by team Romney Hood! No tax returns = no chance... Pack it up and go home Willard.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    August 17, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  7. Larry

    No damage done – he can keep his tax returns because I agree that no voter remains that cares. The fact that he has not released them should make up the mind of any human with a working brain so those voters left that are undecided are also dead between the ears. They won't decide until the last minute because it takes them months to decide anything. Hope they don't fall down on the way to the voting booth and hurt their tootsies.

    August 17, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  8. tymleu

    What's the republcans famous words = I Don't Recall

    August 17, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  9. Mike in Texas

    My guess is Romney took advantage of a Tax Amnesty to report foreign income that he had not reported before. So basically he was doing something illegal but Amnesty protected him

    I think something will come out no earlier than mid September, after both primaries have settled.

    August 17, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  10. ObamaCares

    Four and four more, oops, is one smart dude. He has seen rMoney's tax returns and he certifies that they are all okay. What a joke these two are.

    August 17, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  11. Tim in Omaha

    The "standard" must be the same for ALL.

    If the Democrats demand to see Romney's, they had better produce the President's.

    If they demand them of Ryan, they must demand them of Biden.

    Stop the double standard!!

    August 17, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  12. Maxx

    Most likely Romney took advantage of the amnesty program for tax evaders with Swiss Bank accounts – this is why he won't ever release them. Anybody who trusts the Romneys without seeing the returns sure is gullible.

    August 17, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  13. Larry L

    Only a fool would vote for Romney when he's obviously hiding a terrible reality about his integrity and sense of fairness. He wants us to trust him with our future but he won't trust us with an understanding of his character. The reason is clear!

    August 17, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  14. Larry L

    @Four and The Door

    "This man had led an exemplary life of values, accomplishment and public service. But look at the accusers. Harry Reid was dead wrong with what he said on the Senate Floor."
    Really? Ask the folks who got raped by Bain Capital! He could make harry Reid look really stupid by releasing his returns and having them show him to be honest and ethical... So why would he refuse? Wouldn't you love to make Reid look bad? You know why he won't release then and so does everybody else. Character isn't important to you – just skin color. Harry Reid is right and Romney is an unethical tax cheat. No? Why not show us the truth?

    August 17, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  15. S.B.D.

    Americans care about JOBS, not taxes!
    But if we DO look at taxes, Romney paid MILLIONS, so safe to say he has done his part. He has prepared for running for President for years and can afford the best CPAs and somehow people think there are problems with his taxes? ridiculous....Read our lips--JOBS!

    August 17, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  16. LIP

    Romney is the only person talking about anything with substance and Obama is simply using the old "misdirection" technique in hopes that all the fools that voted for him the first time around, still have their heads where the sun doesn't shine and vote for him again.
    keep up the good work Romney and ignore the lame requests by the Democrats...nobody is paying any attention to them except the Media of course.

    August 17, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  17. Ryan/Romney Kill Medicare Team 2012

    Romney value his tax returns over the presidency a failure in leadership.

    August 17, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  18. Kenny K

    @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. But look at the accusers. Harry Reid was dead wrong with what he said on the Senate Floor. They are desperate. They are about to be shellacked and they know it. Consider the source.
    It is how Romney's tax returns will reflect his tax policies that matters.
    Either Harry Reid or Mitt Romney is "dead wrong". We have to see the tax returns to determine that.

    August 18, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  19. bcrunner

    I am an independent who voted for Clinton, voted for Bush once and then voted for Obama! I will not vote for Mitt Romney!! I will not vote him for more than the fact that he will not release his tax returns. However, when it comes to this issue, he wants me to pay more so he can get another tax break!! Hell no!!!!

    August 18, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  20. James Mn

    "The Romney campaign declined". He is being so subversive on this thatyou know he is hiding something. I am fairly certain that he used many questionable loopholes to under pay his fair share. He hoping to get into office so he can leaglize more loopholes and reduce tax rates to all of the wealthy. That will surely be worth more to him in the payoffs he will get in the future. That is what being the president is all about–not the salary or the house, but the payoffs for doing favors down the road. I am sure Dick has taught him well about that. Mitt does not care one bit about making life better for the common American and you can be certain he will not deliver on any of his promises. He may help create some jobs, but they will be menial 8 – 15 an hour jobs. You can clean my house type of jobs–with not future.

    August 18, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  21. wdavid barber

    four and the door? wanna bet 10,000 $ hahaha

    August 18, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  22. Craig

    The tax issue will hurt Romney but foremost he lacks the passion that voters relate too. Granted, the country is divided & he'll get the usual Republican vote but I think the undecideds, swing states and the intelligent Republicans will vote for Obama.

    August 18, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  23. Dell Johnson

    Mitt and Ryan we need you to show your taxes from 1999 through 2011. Stop playing games or we the people will ask you to get out the race.

    August 18, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  24. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Four."..........You might want to take another look at the people that are asking for more from Romney.......they certainly don't start and stop with Reid........A large segment of our society is not quite ready to accept the word of someone who has been proven in print over and over during these last months to have trouble giving an answer to anything that isn't disproven days later....He is apparently not to be believed!!!!!!!SORRY!!!!.

    August 18, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |

    Paying lawyers to throw him through legal loopholes doesn't place Romney above the bar standard set by the American voters. I would not be surprised if he had insider information before the recession hit in 2008, made money off of the damage suffered by Americans, and then stashed the money away in offshore accounts where the USA can't tax it. Just because it's "legal" does NOT make it right.
    I'm shocked that any educated American would vote or even consider themselves a GOP conservative after the year 2000. The party is truly a bunch of insane clowns that are counting on the stupidity or forgetfulness of the American voters.

    August 18, 2012 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
1 2 3 4 5