On Tuesday night's edition of "The Rachel Maddow Show," host Rachel Maddow discussed the impact of the release of the hidden camera "47 percent" video on the campaign to elect former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) to the presidency, as well as questions that the candidates remarks in the video raise about his own refusal to release his tax forms.
The problem with the video, Maddow said, isn't so much that Romney has divided the population in half in his mind, although that doesn't help, "There's something really important embedded in the video, and it's the way Mr. Romney talks about taxes and morality that I think is going to be driving the next news cycle. It's not so much the part where he says he's just not going to worry about 47 percent of the country in trying to become president, it's about what he says is wrong with that part of the country."
Maddow explained that it isn't so much that Romney thinks that the people who vote for Barack Obama are useless to his campaign, but that he seems to think that they are useless to society, and that there's something morally wrong with being a person who doesn't pay federal income taxes.
Which brings us back, Maddow said, to the topic of the governor's unreleased tax records. Romney has refused so far to make more than one year of his tax returns public, and provided only an estimate of another year, in spite of pressure from both inside and outside the Republican Party to do so.
According to the Daily Beast, Paul Ryan had to submit ten years of tax returns as part of the process of vetting him for the presidential ticket.
"According to Mitt Romney's standards," she said, "that is apparently what it takes to vet a vice presidential nominee. And Mitt Romney is responsible for vetting the nominee for vice president of the United States from the Republican Party. He's the one who has to make that pick and in order to make that pick responsibly, he felt like he needed to see ten years of tax returns from Paul Ryan."
And yet, we've still only seen one year of Romney's returns and a summary of another. He says he's never paid less than 13 percent of his income in taxes, Maddow said, but "we're going to have to take his word on that."
"The problem with just trusting Mitt Romney about that, and not actually getting to see the evidence of what he says is in his taxes, is that the last time he asked voters to trust him about what he said was in his taxes, that he didn't want to show anybody, the last time he did that was in 2002 when he told Massachusetts voters that he had filed his taxes as a resident of Massachusetts."
It was later found that Romney was lying about paying taxes in Massachusetts and was forced to pay them retroactively. The precedent for taking Romney's word about any matters related to his tax returns is not a good one.
Maddow pointed out that if Romney's going to say that people who don't pay taxes are "victims" who won't take responsibility for their lives, it makes it "all the more pressing" that we see his taxes.
Watch the video, embedded via MSNBC, below: