CNN and NBC Sunday shows allowed Mitt Romney campaign surrogates to claim that the American people aren't interested in seeing more of Romney's tax returns, even as polling shows most Americans think Romney should release more of his returns.
Polling Shows Most Americans Think Romney Should Release More Tax Returns
CNN/ORC: 63 Percent Of Americans Want Romney To Release Additional Tax Returns. An August 9 CNN poll revealed that 63 percent of Americans believe Romney should release more of his tax returns. From the poll:
CNN/ORC: 67 Percent Of Independents Believe Romney Should Release More Of His Tax Returns. The CNN/ORC poll also found that 67 percent of independents believe Romney should release more of his tax returns. [CNN/ORC poll, 8/9/12]
Gallup: 54 Percent Of Americans Want Romney To Release Additional Returns. According to a July Gallup poll, a "majority of Americans (54%) say Mitt Romney should release additional tax returns." Gallup's report included the following chart:
But CNN, NBC Let Romney Surrogates Claim Americans Don't Care About Romney's Taxes
Romney Adviser Eric Fehrnstrom: Romney's Tax Returns "Are Not An Issue. It's Not What The American People Are Talking About." During an interview on CNN's State of the Union, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said that Romney's tax returns "are not an issue. It's not what the American people are talking about." Guest host Jim Acosta failed to challenge Fehrnstrom's claim. From State of the Union:
JIM ACOSTA: Mitt Romney came out and volunteered earlier this week that he hadn't paid less than 13 percent as an effective tax rate in his taxes. Why won't Mitt Romney prove it and just put his tax returns out there?
ERIK FERNSTROM: Well, I'll tell you, Mitt Romney has put out -- he's said he'll put out two years' worth of tax returns. He has put out his full 2010 return, hundreds of pages of tax return information that's on his website. He'll put out his 2011 returns once it's complete and filed. He's had financial disclosures going back to 2002 when he was governor of Massachusetts. Those, too, can be found on Mitt Romney's website. Look, taxes are not an issue. It's not what the American people are talking about. Just last month, we learned in July that 44 states saw their unemployment rates go up. And what is Obama's answer to that? Higher taxes and more spending. If you are unemployed in America, you must feel like a drowning person who's just been thrown an anchor.
ACOSTA: Alright, Eric Fehrnstrom, thanks very much for your time this morning. We appreciate it. [CNN, State of the Union, 8/19/12]
Gov. Bob McDonnell: Romney's Tax Returns Are "Not What The American People Care About." Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Romney campaign surrogate and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA) dismissed the notion that Americans are interested in Romney's tax returns, saying, "[T]his is not what the American people are about. This is below their dignity." Host David Gregory failed to challenge McDonnell's claim. From the program:
DAVID GREGORY: Direct question related to that answer: Was that 13 percent in federal income tax? Is that what he paid? Why won't he answer more? Should he?
McDONNELL: This issue is not about Mitt Romney's tax returns. That's not what Americans care about; they care about their own tax returns and the whopping increases in taxes and regulation that this administration has put on the American people and what they're going to put on. Here's what we know about his tax returns: He's paid his taxes. He's released more documents than he needs to. He's made a lot of money. He's been successful, and he's a very generous guy. Now I say, let's talk about what the American people are going to vote on, and that's jobs, debt, spending, energy, and the American dream. Mitt Romney's laid out a five-point plan for the middle class focusing on debt reduction and small business and trade and workforce development. I mean, these are the substantive issues Martin and I can agree that --
GREGORY: Governor O'Malley, do you really think that Mitt Romney --
McDONNELL: -- that Americans care about. Not tax returns.
GREGORY: Is he lying about his tax returns? Do you think he didn't pay taxes?
McDONNELL: That's just flat wrong, Martin. I mean this is the same reckless and slanderous remarks that Harry Reid said a couple of weeks ago. And this, you know, this is not what the American people care about. This is below their dignity. This is about how do we get the greatest country on earth out of debt and back to work? And Obama's just flat failed. Nice guy, bad policies. Hasn't got the job done. It's time for a change. And I'd say the Ryan-Romney ticket that's positive and optimistic and believes in the American dream and wants to get people back to having an opportunity to succeed. That's what we need to talk about. And these other diversionary issues on accusing Ryan of throwing grandma over the cliff, and Romney of killing somebody's wife, and not paying taxes -- these are diversions. Let's talk about the issues.
GREGORY: Let's talk about Medicare then. [NBC, Meet the Press, 8/19/12]