Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Truths about Mitt's Taxes and Harry's Ploy

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Truths about Mitt's Taxes and Harry's Ploy

Article excerpt

Today we will unearth all we need to know about the personal income tax truths Mitt Romney is hiding from us -- and the malicious mud Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is slinging at Mr. Romney, but spattering us.

To find the real motives behind these two growing Campaign 2012 controversies, we'll enlist the help of two dead presidents.

We'll start with one of President Lyndon Johnson's favorite jokes, and finish with one of President Richard Nixon's least favorite press conference questions.

LBJ liked to tell the story about an old Texas congressman who for the first time had an opponent. So he ordered his press secretary to "plant a story in the newspapers that my opponent had sexual relations with a pig."

And when the aide asked what proof they had, the old pol roared: "Proof, hell! Just get him to deny it!"

That's just what Nevada's wily Democrat was up to last week. Mr. Reid told the Huffington Post about what he said was a telephone call to his office a month ago -- from "a person who invested with Bain Capital (Mr. Romney's former firm)." Mr. Reid said the caller, whom he won't name, said of Mr. Romney: "Harry, he didn't pay any taxes for 10 years." Mr. Reid continued, "Now do I know that that's true? Well, I'm not certain. But obviously he (Mr. Romney) can't release those tax returns. How would it look?"

The claim is worse than suspicious. How would an investor know what was in Mr. Romney's personal tax returns? Yet Mr. Reid's only response to reporters seeking verification is that Mr. Romney should release his tax returns.

(As in LBJ's old Texas pol's, "Proof hell! Just get him to deny it.")

While Mr. Romney insists he paid lots of taxes every year -- he must have a reason for making himself look as though he didn't. He must know his tax returns will reveal things he wants to hide from even loyal fellow Republicans. He's only released his 2010 income tax records (he paid a tax rate of only 13.9 percent of his income) and says he'll release his 2011 when it's done.

But presidential candidates of both parties routinely have released many years of tax records. Many Republicans have joined Democrats in calling on Mr. …

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