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Opinion: 'Retroactively Retired', A Laugher Even By Washington Standards

The Buck Starts Here

The demand for W. Mitt Romney to release his tax returns has become bipartisan. Conservative elected officials and pundits know that Romney is taking on so much water over his secrecy and questions of his honesty and that he has no other choice.

For the GOP, a party known for circling the wagons around their guy, to begin a full-throated agreement that Romney should release his IRS records from 1999 forward is devastating to his campaign.

While Republicans have joined Democrats in asking to see the tax returns, the Romney campaign has circled their wagons. But they seem to be firing at each other.

On Friday, Romney sat down for five national television interviews, but made no news. He only made the problem worse.

By Sunday, Romney surrogates unveiled the new story. W. Mitt Romney "retroactively retired" from Bain in 2002, retroactive to 1999.

A laugher, even by Washington standards.

The guy who is pitching himself as a businessman, not a politician, could not have come up with a more lame excuse. Americans hate it when politicians use weasel words. "Retroactively retired" will go in the books as perhaps the quintessential use of weasel words by a politician.

This morning, it has grown even more painful: rather than coming out loaded for bear, W. Mitt Romney's campaign spokespeople were loaded for varmint and small rodents. They painfully ignored questions and tried to change the subject.

It is hard to assume a fighting stance on a sinking ship.

But that is nothing compared to W. Mitt Romney's appearance this morning in the cozy confines of “Fox and Friends.” On that show he repeated the lie that is the "Romney standard": Senators John McCain and John Kerry released two years of tax returns. Senator Kerry, in fact, released more than that.

W. also complained that Senator Kerry's wife did not release her tax records.

Who says that? I am not going to release my tax returns because the wife of the 2004 Democratic nominee did not release hers?

That is pathetic. Worse because we are on day five of the current cycle of asking for his returns.

If by day five of getting the same question, the best you can do is continue to lie about how many tax returns someone else released and ignore basic factual discrepancies in your story line you are in big trouble.

Here's some advice for his Team in Boston:

One, get your facts straight.

Two, seriously, get your facts straight. A simple Google search will reveal how long W. Mitt Romney and his merry band have gotten it wrong on Senator Kerry's release of tax records.

Three, listen to the words that are coming out of your mouths. Do you realize that the standard you are claiming, John McCain and John Kerry, is the standard of Presidential losers?

Four, this one ain't gonna be so easy to Etch-a-Sketch your way out of.

Five, just own the Bain record and except that the campaign you have built is on the shaky foundation of W. Mitt Romney's leadership of Bain Capital as a qualifier for the White House. You will live by Bain or you will die by Bain.

This is the decision that you made. Leaders accept the consequences of their decisions. Losers whine.

About Bill Buck

Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.


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