Jay Leno on Wednesday got a much-needed education on tax returns, college transcripts, and the double standard by which the media treat such things for Democrats and Republicans.
When the Tonight Show host pushed guest Newt Gingrich about wanting to see more of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's tax returns, the former House Speaker marvelously countered, "I'd love to see President Obama’s Columbia University undergraduate work" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
JAY LENO, HOST: Now, Mitt Romney taking some heat for not releasing more tax returns. Even the GOP is calling for him to release tax returns. Should he?
NEWT GINGRICH: Well, I think -- look, this is an endless game. First of all, I'd love to have transparency. I'd love to see President Obama’s Columbia University undergraduate work. I'd like to see all the money President Obama got from that foundation, that left-wing foundation in Chicago.
LENO: But you can see that.
GINGRICH: No, you can't see it. That's the whole point. You can't.
LENO: But no, we're not talking about that. We're talking about tax returns.
Indeed. Leno's NOT talking about Obama's transcripts or anything potentially embarrassing to the President nor is anyone else in the media.
Instead, the discussion is all about extraneous issues such as Romney's tax returns and Bain Capital, a fact Gingrich pointed out:
GINGRICH: I know we're not, and that's -- but that's the other thing --
LENO: But you’re changing, you're very good.
GINGRICH: No, I'm not changing the subject. No, I'm not changing the subject. I'm trying to make a bigger point. There are 100 ways from the way in which they secretly wrote the original bill, remember $800 billion for stimulus. You get to learn what's in it after it's voted on. The way they had secret meetings on the entire health care bill.
LENO: Yeah, but make that a separate issue. My thing...
GINGRICH: It's not a separate issue. It's the same issue.
LENO: Here's my thing. Here's the thing. I think you have two really decent men running for president. I think they're both good family men. I don't think Romney is a crook. If he is able to skirt some taxes legally, I think all Americans would do exactly the same thing if I could. Donald Trump is proud of being a wealthy man. He was going to run. Romney is a wealthy man. We know he's wealthy. His father released 12 years of taxes. I mean it seems to me -- here they are. I mean, what you find doesn't seem like it would be worse than what people are now imagining and making up.
GINGRICH: Well, look.
[Cheers and applause]
GINGRICH: Here's my -- here's my prediction. Here's my prediction. Okay, here's my prediction. Romney can start playing the please the media game, okay? Now you release your tax returns. That will lead to three weeks of, “Gee, what's in the tax returns?” Then they're going to say, "Gee, look at these partnerships. Why don't you release the partnerships?" We can spend from now until Election Day on whatever the next phony thing is.
Exactly. And as that's what Obama wants, that's what the press are pushing for:
LENO: Yeah, but you called for him to release his tax returns.
GINGRICH: And he is releasing two years.
LENO: Two years. But it seems to me twelve years, that seems, you know…
GINGRICH: But why pick twelve years? Why not seventeen years? Or why not nine years?
LENO: Well, a reasonable amount.
GINGRICH: Here's what's going to happen. Obama cannot survive if this campaign is about the economy. So, every morning they try to figure out what's the newest argument that isn't about the economy. They don't actually care what it is. It's anything except the economy.
LENO: But I see some of the economy getting better. No?
GINGRICH: I think most Americans realize, if you are under 73 years of age…
GINGRICH: …this is the worst recession in your lifetime. This is a longer period of unemployment than any time in 72 years.
GINGRICH: Now, it's a little tricky for a president to run for re-election saying, "How about four more years, four more years of this level of unemployment, four more years of this level of deficits?”
LENO: I got it.
GINGRICH: And so the trick is, Romney wants to stay focused on that and Obama wants to stay focused on anything but that. And most of the elite media wants to get Obama re-elected, so they're going to…
LENO: No, is the elite media the regular media? Is that what we're talking about? 'Cause I, it looks, I watch Fox.
GINGRICH: No, the elite media is the guys on the left.
LENO: I watch Fox News and they have pictures of Obama like this. And then you turn on MSNBC, and there's Romney. I mean, it is so…
GINGRICH: Okay. All right.
LENO: Both of them are so ridiculously biased, it's hard for a normal person to get…
GINGRICH: But you just described it for all of us, okay. Over here is the right-wing media. You can tell because Obama looks bad.
GINGRICH: Over here is the elite media. You can tell because Romney looks bad. Turn on the evening news, you know which one you're watching.
LENO: Yeah, all right,
Indeed. And as Fox News averages about two million viewers a day, it is dwarfed in influence by the rest of the liberal media.
Why people like Leno don't get that is amazing.