CNN again raised issue of tax records without noting that McCain has not released his

››› ››› ANDREW WALZER

On CNN's The Situation Room, Brian Todd reported that each presidential candidate "is under more pressure now to release" different types of information, stating that "[f]or [Sen.] Hillary Clinton, it's those elusive tax records." But Todd did not mention that Sen. John McCain has yet to release his tax returns.

On the March 6 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, correspondent Brian Todd reported on accusations that the presidential candidates are withholding information, but while mentioning Sen. Hillary Clinton's tax returns, Todd did not note that Sen. John McCain, like Clinton, has yet to release his tax returns. The Wall Street Journal reported on February 23 that McCain "hasn't released his tax returns either. His campaign has said it won't decide whether to release the returns until after he is officially the nominee."

While introducing Todd's report, host Wolf Blitzer stated, "They attack each other over full disclosure, but it turns out each of the Democratic candidates is accused of withholding some information, information people want to know more about." In his introduction, Blitzer did not mention McCain, who has also been accused of withholding information "people want to know more about." A February 27 Washington Post editorial noted that McCain has "so far refused" to release his returns, adding, "Most troubling, Mr. McCain isn't even pledging to release his returns once he becomes the nominee."

Following Blitzer's introduction, Todd stated: "Well, Wolf, from tax information to medical records, some information has come out in drips and drabs, and some hasn't come out much at all. But each candidate is under more pressure now to release what they've got." Todd stated during his report, "For Hillary Clinton, it's those elusive tax records," and aired a video clip of Clinton saying, "I will certainly, you know, work toward releasing, and we will get that done and in the public domain." Todd then said, "For John McCain, it's his melanoma surgery several years ago," but Todd did not mention that McCain has not released his tax records.

As Media Matters for America noted, on the February 28 Situation Room, commentator Jack Cafferty similarly did not mention McCain's failure to release his filings, saying: "There's a lot of information that voters still don't have about Hillary Clinton, including the White House records from when she was first lady and her tax returns." Moments later, Cafferty added: "As for the tax returns, Hillary Clinton also said at the debate that she would release them once she becomes the nominee or, quote, 'even earlier,' unquote, but her campaign seems to be backing away from that statement now, suggesting that Clinton won't release the financial information until tax time in April." Cafferty later asked viewers to respond to the question: "How important is it for Hillary Clinton to release her tax returns and White House records now?"

Media Matters has documented other examples of media figures noting that Clinton has not released her tax returns without mentioning that McCain also has not done so.

From the March 11 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: All right, Soledad, thanks. A lot more numbers coming up; I know you and your team are crunching those numbers all the time.

They attack each other over full disclosure, but it turns out each of the Democratic candidates is accused of withholding some information, information people want to know more about. Let's go back to Brian Todd. He's watching this part of the story for us. What's the information, Brian, in question?

TODD: Well, Wolf, from tax information to medical records, some information has come out in drips and drabs, and some hasn't come out much at all. But each candidate is under more pressure now to release what they've got.

[begin video clip]

TODD: For Barack Obama, it's his dealings with indicted former fundraiser Tony Rezko.

OBAMA: The notion that we haven't been forthcoming I would dispute.

TODD: For Hillary Clinton, it's those elusive tax records.

CLINTON: I will certainly, you know, work toward releasing, and we will get that done and in the public domain.

TODD: For John McCain, it's his melanoma surgery several years ago.

Each major candidate now under extraordinary pressure to be more forthcoming about at least one aspect of their past. A USA Today op-ed says, "[V]oters aren't getting all the information they need to make informed choices." The campaigns all dispute that.

Senator Clinton's promised to release her tax records next month -- same general time frame for McCain and his medical file. Obama and his advisers say they've answered all questions about the candidate's relationship with Rezko as they've come up.

Some information, like medical and tax records, is often released after a nominee is selected. But with the Democratic race still so tight, some observers say now is the time for all White House hopefuls to get it all out there.

MARK HALPERIN (Time magazine senior political analyst): Things like taxes, medical records, your real estate transactions have become controversial. Those things are generally revealed, and candidates who don't reveal them potentially face a price with voters.

[end video clip]

TODD: Now, this is certainly not the first time issues like this have come up in campaigns. Bill and Hillary Clinton released some of the information on their Whitewater land deal during the 1992 campaign, and that, of course, came back to hit them later -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian Todd, thanks very much for that.

He's battled cancer and he's come out on top, but what does his latest medical checkup tell us about the health of the presidential candidate John McCain? Dr. Sanjay Gupta standing by.

Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Brian Todd
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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