Rachel Maddow, puzzling Friday night over the unexpected news dump of Mitt Romney's 2011 tax returns, pointed out that by Romney's own standard, his tax returns disqualify him from the presidency.
That revelation is not because Romney paid too little in taxes, but oddly enough because he paid too much, or more specifically, more than he was legally required to pay. And even weirder, Maddow said, is how that revelation contrasts with Romney's established pattern of trying to dodge taxes left and right throughout his adult life.
Maddow dug up a clip of Romney discussing his taxes earlier this year in which the Republican presidential candidate claimed that had he ever paid too much in taxes, he didn't think he would be "qualified" to be president. Turns out, according to Romney's 2011 tax returns, the 14.1% effective tax rate he paid was actually slightly higher than he was legally required to shell out.
Romney accidentally "disqualified" himself from the presidency in an attempt to make another campaign-stop claim true, Maddow argued, pointing to Romney's past statement that he's never paid under 13% in taxes. Since Romney could have paid a rate below that threshold in 2011, Maddow claimed Romney's accountants tinkered with his filings specifically to boost him over that mark.
"In order to make that statement from last month retroactively true, Mr Romney's accountants went back and artificially inflated his tax rate so it would comport with what he said," Maddow argued.
"They artificially inflated his tax rate to more than it needed be, and in doing so, Mitt Romney unwittingly declared himself to be unqualified to be President of the United States," she added. "This is nuts."
From there, Maddow said Romney's refusal to release additional returns and his shady financial history, such as his investments in the Cayman Islands—"maybe the money just likes the nice view"— all pointed to the fact that he has been systematically dodging taxes for years.
"Mitt Romney's entire adult life has essentially been one long, boring plot to dodge taxes at one level or another," she said.
Watch the full segment below: