Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum suggested that requests for Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns are somehow an invasion of his privacy, even as polling shows most Americans think Romney should do so.
Romney continues to deny requests from both sides of the aisle to release more tax returns, asserting that the 2010 return and 2011 estimate he released are sufficient. Today, the Obama campaign offered to stop criticizing Romney for a lack of transparency if he releases five years of tax returns. The Romney camp declined, alleging that the Obama team was trying to distract from "issues that matter to voters."
MacCallum's declaration that Romney's tax returns aren't "anybody's business" echoes a comment Romney made earlier this week on the campaign trail. Romney said, "Given the challenges that America faces -- 23 million people out of work, Iran about to become nuclear, one out of six Americans in poverty -- the fascination with taxes I've paid I find to be very small-minded."
The majority of the country disagrees with MacCallum. Sixty-three percent of Americans believe Romney should release more of his tax returns, according to an August 9 CNN poll. Among independents, that number is even higher, at 67 percent. Similarly, a Gallup poll in July found that 54 percent of adults thought that Romney should release additional returns.
From the August 17 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
MacCALLUM: You know, if there's no illegality, if the IRS isn't after them, I don't think it's anybody's business.
JUAN WILLIAMS (Fox News contributor): Oh, stop. If they only paid 13 percent, Martha?
MARY KATHARINE HAM (Fox News contributor): It's a smear if Harry Reid is just making stuff up.
WILLIAMS: What percentage do you pay in taxes?
MacCALLUM: Go ahead, Juan.
WILLIAMS: What percentage do you pay in taxes? I bet you pay a lot more than 13 percent.
MacCALLUM: You know, yeah, I do. But you know what I would say to anybody wanting to know about -- it's none of your business, OK?
WILLIAMS: Yeah, well, you're not running for president.
HAM: It's the McCain standard. He's met it.
MacCALLUM: I think that unless there's a charge there's something illegal, I can't -- two years, you know, that's exactly what John McCain did. I don't -- I think they're barking up the wrong tree.
WILLIAMS: Two years? He's done one year and an estimate.