Friday night on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow said that presumptive Republican nominee Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) has, if precedent is any guide, given us no reason to take his word on the subject of his refusal to disclose his tax returns. In fact, he has given voters rather the opposite.
Reflecting back on the contentious nomination of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller (R-NY) as vice president to Gerald Ford, Maddow pointed out his initial refusal to provide his own tax returns until they were demanded by the Senate. “Precedent matters, right?” she said, “I mean, politically right now, the most important thing about Mitt Romney not releasing his tax returns is that he hasn’t been able to change the subject from people asking him to release his tax returns.”
What Maddow finds baffling, however, is the media’s strangely blind eye toward Romney’s public record. She called a “willful resistance to looking back at what Mitt Romney has done in public life in the past.”
On Friday, Jim Messina, manager of the campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama, made a public statement to the Romney campaign saying that if they would just release five years of tax returns, from 2007 to 2012, the Obama campaign would not ask for anything further. The Romney camp declined the offer.
Romney said that when he looked back over his tax returns from the last ten years, he found that he had never paid less than 13 percent of his earnings and that we’re just going to have to trust him on that. However, Maddow said, in 2002 when Romney was running for governor of Massachusetts, it was demanded of him that he release tax returns to demonstrate a residency in that state of at least seven years. Romney refused and insisted that the public take his word for it.
Eventually it came out that Romney had lied. He was forced to pay Massachusetts taxes retroactively, because when he said that the public would have to take his word that he had paid taxes for seven years as a Massachusetts resident, it simply wasn’t true.
Now he wants us to take his word that he has paid at least 13 percent of his massive income over the last 10 years in taxes. Why should we take him at face value? He has demonstrated a willingness to prevaricate on this very subject in his career as a public figure.
“The precedent for trusting them on this,” Maddow said, “is not good.”
Watch the clip, embedded via MSNBC, below: