Obama Campaign Promises to Not Be Too Mean If Romney Releases Just Three More Years of Tax Returns

Jim Messina (C), campaign manager for the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama, talks with reporters during a tour of the re-election headquarters May 12, 2010 in Chicago. The office occupies a reported 50, 000 square feet of the Prudential Plaza office building, one block south of Obama's 2008 campaign headquarters.
Jim Messina talking to someone, probably Kenny Loggins. Photo: Frank Polich/Getty

In an effort to gin up press coverage of Mitt Romney’s tax stonewalling for one more day (mission accomplished!), singer-songwriter Obama campaign manager Jim Messina sent a letter to Matt Rhoades, Romney’s campaign manager, suggesting a deal:

I am writing to ask again that the Governor release multiple years of tax returns, but also to make an offer that should address his concerns about the additional disclosures. Governor Romney apparently fears that the more he offers, the more our campaign will demand that he provide. So I am prepared to provide assurances on just that point: if the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more — neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign … To provide these five years, the Governor would have to release only three more sets of returns in addition to the 2010 return he has released and the 2011 return he has pledged to provide. And, I repeat, the Governor and his campaign can expect in return that we will refrain from questioning whether he has released enough or pressing for more.

Obviously, this isn’t what Romney is actually worried about, and Messina does not expect his offer to allay his fears. The letter is a mere publicity stunt meant to call attention to just how stubborn and secretive Romney is being on this issue. All we want is three more years! Surely that’s reasonable? Not surprisingly, the Romney campaign did not agree.

Obama Asks Romney for Three Years of Tax Returns