PALM BEACH, Fla. – As pressure continues to build on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to release his tax records, top-rated radio host Rush Limbaugh says the former Massachusetts governor should have a ready response whenever asked about the matter.
“Some answers ought to just roll off your tongue. Some answers ought to now just be automatic coming out of the oral cavity,” Limbaugh said today. “But Mitt appeared to be stumbling and unsure of some things when this income-tax challenge came up [in Monday's debate in South Carolina]. What Romney should have said: ‘OK, I’ll release my income tax as soon as Obama releases his college transcripts.’”
Limbaugh continued, “The frustrating thing is that you know this stuff is coming every election. You know it’s coming, but there has not been a defense prepared for it. There doesn’t seem to be anybody on the Republican side prepared to deal with this even though everybody knows it’s coming. What would have been wrong with an answer [such as] ‘It’s none of your business. I’ll release it when I’m ready to. I’ll release it when I see Obama’s transcripts from college.’? Throw it back at them.”
The quip about Obama’s college transcripts comes a day after White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dodged a question about the president’s university records.
As WND reported, Carney evaded the question completely, shifting it to say it was a good idea to have presidential candidates release their tax records.
The question came from Ed Henry of Fox News.
“Now, I don’t know how many years – maybe you do – George Romney released of his college transcripts, but Republicans like to complain the president has not released his college transcripts. What is the stated reason for that?” Henry asked.
“I’d refer you to the campaign. I mean, I think,” Carney started.
“Is it a question you could take,” Henry said.
“Sure. I think we’ve answered this a bunch. I think that the tradition of releasing income tax records for presidential candidates, for serious potential nominees and nominees of the two parties is well established. It’s not a law, but it’s well established. And it’s one that this president abided by when he was a candidate as senator. It’s one that numerous Republicans and Democrats have abided by, and we just think it’s a good idea,” Carney said.
Presidential candidates are not required by law to disclose federal tax returns, but most voluntarily disclose them at some point.
During the 2008 Republican presidential primary, Romney did not release a tax return.
“It was never a problem,” Limbaugh said. Romney has indicated he will probably release his tax records this spring.
In 2008, Republican John McCain released his tax information in mid-April, long after wrapping up the nomination. Then-candidate Obama released his 2000 through 2006 tax returns in late March. Hillary Clinton released hers in mid-April.
In the 2004 campaign, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry released his tax records in mid-April.
“Now one of the things we learned from Kerry’s tax return is that he paid zero to charity,” Limbaugh noted. “He donated zero to charity the year before he ran for the presidency. Zero. And he is the wealthiest guy in the modern era to ever run for president.”
Limbaugh said news reports about Romney’s financial state have been biased against the former governor.
“It’s being reported as almost a crime that Romney is paying an effective rate of 15 percent. It’s almost a crime that he has given money to the Mormon Church,” Limbaugh said.
“Now who would you rather have as president? You want somebody who earned their money and spent their money legally, invested their money legally, paid their taxes legally? Or do you want a guy who buys a house at below-market price with the help of a guy who later became a convicted felon, Tony Rezko?
“You know none of this attention was ever paid to Barack Obama, and we all know why: first legitimate black presidential contender, history in the making, we can’t do anything to upset this apple cart. Plus, he’s a liberal Democrat so he’s inoculated against any of this. Because you see the template, the narrative is the Republicans equal rich, sleazy businessmen, even though all the rich, sleazy businessmen donate to the Democrats now.”