The liberal media paranoia over Mitt Romney’s tax returns reached a new low on Wednesday's Morning Joe. For weeks, MSNBC has been fretting over Mitt Romney’s refusal to release more than two years of taxes and has devoted days to discussing this non-issue.
Appearing as a guest on Morning Joe, journalist Carl Bernstein poured gasoline onto the liberal fire by saying Romney’s refusal to release more tax returns was a disgrace asking "how we can have a candidate for President of the United States who won't release his tax returns?" [Video follows page break; MP3 audio here.]
Following comments by co-host Mika Brzezinski who claimed numerous Republicans during the GOP primary asked Romney to release his tax returns, Bernstein took his anti-Romney rant further claiming that a candidate shouldn’t be President of the United States if they refuse to release their tax returns. While Bernstein did say that if the situation was reversed a Democrat shouldn’t be president either if they failed to release their tax returns, we wonder if this is actually true.
Bernstein ridiculously asserted that he would apply the same standard to a Democrat nominee for president but if history tells us anything, the liberal media, especially MSNBC would likely give a Democrat a pass on the same issue that they are viciously attacking Romney over.
After all, liberal hero Ted Kennedy never released his tax returns, not even when he challenged President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 Democratic presidential primaries.
Much media attention has been paid to the fact that Mitt Romney's father George released years of his tax returns when he ran for president in 1968. Robert F. Kennedy did not release his tax returns, although it's impossible to know if he would have eventually done so had he not been assassinated.
Romney has refused to give the Obama campaign more ammunition to use against him so journalists like Bernstein try to invalidate a Republican candidate for his refusal to comply with the liberal media’s demands.
If Bernstein wants true transparency in this election, wouldn't he demand President Obama release his college records including his thesis paper rather than telling the Republicans to find another candidate unless Romney release his tax returns?
See relevant transcript below.
6:45 a.m. EDT
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Here with us now best-selling author and award winning journalist Carl Bernstein, good to have you on board this morning. Alright, we're going to do must-read opinion pages and my question after reading Maureen Dowd's will be to anyone who chooses to jump in, is this what I'm about to read, just for the echo chamber, just for, quote, sort of people who have one certain point of view, and does it -- i mean is that, perhaps, why the Romney campaign is pushing back so hard because perhaps it doesn't poll this way across the country. But, she asks, who's on America's side? Campaigning Tuesday in Pennsylvania, Romney called Obama's course as president extraordinarily foreign. But it is the Mitt bot who keeps getting caught doing things that seem strangely outside the norm to most Americans. Aside from his time running the Salt Lake City Olympics, which he's happy to publicize, Romney's whole life from his $250 million fortune to his tenure at the cultish Bain to his Mormonism seems as though it's secreted in any hidden shelter. Like W, he's coming across as the privileged kid who grew up at the country club and got special deals because of his dad but then runs around claiming to be a self-made businessman. That lack of self-awareness and Romney's refusal to take responsibility for his own company, are disturbing traits in a leader. Carl?
CARL BERNSTEIN: Well, to quote a well-known book title I think that Romney's taxes are potentially a game changer. That we've got about in the polls 10% of the people might be undecided, my guess is it's really 4% or 5%, and it is extraordinary to have someone running for president that won't show his tax returns. He's going to have to show them. They can't be helpful to him. Or we would have seen them by now. And he'll dump them some time in August, the doldrums of August, I guess. But this is an extraordinary moment. How can we have a candidate for the presidency of the United States who is unwilling to share his tax returns with the people of the country? I think that most reasonable people are going to say, who have an open mind, we don't want this. Almost anything but this. It's wrong. It's simply wrong.
BRZEZINSKI: And am I missing something, and Alex just call things if you could, but anyone at the table, are there any prominent Republicans except for Newt Gingrich, which I'll just put in one category, and John McCain who has seen them, I believe, correct, because he was vetting for VP pick, and so he's seen them, and these two prominent Republicans are saying, leave him alone. There are others stepping out and saying he should release them. Are there any prominent Republicans who are defending his choice to keep them private except for Newt Gingrich and John McCain?
JOHN HEILEMANN: I don't believe that anybody is and I think even -- there are some Republicans who are defending him by implication sort of saying this is not an issue, we shouldn't talk about this etc. etc. But no one is making a principled defense, no one is standing up and trying to say here's why he should not be required to or should not do this because there is I think no principle defense for that position. So you’ll hear people, even like McCain, well he shouldn't do it, he doesn't have to do it, you know, it's not required by law.
BRZEZINSKI: You've seen them --
HEILEMANN: It's not really an argument.
BERNSTEIN: You should hear what they're saying in private because i talked to some and so does john and they are horrified. Listen to Haley Barbour publicly, and imagine what Haley Barbour and the former chairman of the Republican Party is saying privately. This is actually a disgrace.
HEILEMANN: It’s probably very candid. It’s probably very salting.
BERNSTEIN: It's a disgrace. If a Democrat did it the Democrat shouldn't be President of the United States. If a Republican did it, the Republican shouldn't be President of the United States. Find a new nominee or make him show his taxes. And let's see what they show.
BRZEZINSKI: Is he -- he's going to have to do it.
HEILEMANN: I never liked to think that there's -- there's nothing you have to do. I mean, again, you can, you know, you can decide, we talked about this earlier, you can decide that it would be worse politically to release them than to take this -- he's obviously being damaged by this, but, you know, again none of us know what's in the tax returns so it's hard to make a judgment. It could be that it would be worse to release them. I don't know the answer.
MIKE BARNICLE: You know, Carl said, you know, they’ll probably release some of the tax returns during the doldrums of August. I think that's the phrase you used. There are no more doldrums anymore.
BERNSTEIN: We were sitting during the primaries I remember sitting here and talking about this, a number of us were saying, this is going to come back. This is not going to go away after Santorum and Gingrich raised it and it's here and it ought to be the biggest issue of the campaign in terms of the two personalities.
BARNICLE; And it's also playing into the theme that the Obama campaign, I think, has very effectively used, basically labeling here's the rich guy. This is the rich guy. He's different than you are.