Starting at around 4:20 in this video, Willard “Mitt” Romney makes one of the most astonishing statements I’ve just about ever heard from a presidential candidate, pleading that “business or family or taxes or things of that nature” be off the table for the rest of his campaign against President Obama. WTF, is he serious?!?
Apparently so. Here’s how Politico’s Burns & Haberman describe it (under the headline, “Romney wants his taxes, business record off table“)
Talking about candidates’ personal finances is hardly novel, nor is it irrelevant – how candidates make their money, however much or how little they’ve earned over the years, is not only fair game but a legitimate line of inquiry. The question of tax returns is also not new (to that end, Romney has said he would also release his 2011 taxes, but has yet to do so, with less than three months to go in the race).
What is surprising is hearing a candidate say, essentially, “stop hitting me.” As the folks at First Read note, this would seem to be something of a concession that the negatives are bothering the candidate, whom a round of new national polls shows running at a deficit that exceeds the margin of error…
More broadly than that, though, what’s so absurd about this, really heading into utter Bizarro World territory, is that Romney’s entire rationale for his candidacy pretty much revolves around his business background, but now he’s saying, essentially, “don’t ask me any questions about my business background.” I mean, if that’s not beyond laughable, I don’t know what is.
Also utterly absurd is Romney’s claim that his campaign hasn’t gone after Obama personally. Uh huh. You mean like this? Or this? Or this (no, Sheldon Adelson isn’t officially on the Romney campaign, but he’s pouring millions of dollars into helping elect Romney, and he hung out with Romney in Israel a couple weeks ago)? All the crazy stuff Romney’s pal Donald Trump has said about Obama? Or all the crazy stuff Romney’s teahadist allies have said about Obama for several years now, none of which Romney has condemned? But again, the media’s not supposed to ask Romney questions about his business dealings, why he has tens of millions of dollars in Swiss bank accounts, tax havens like the Cayman Islands, etc., because that’s “personal,” even though his business background is the central rationale for his candidacy? Gotcha.