NewsNation | July 09, 2012
>>> democrats and their all out assault on mitt romney 's refusal to release more of his tax returns . democrats went after governor romney demanding he lift the veil of secrecy regarding his offshore investments and other financial transactions . this morning things got heated on " morning joe ." obama campaign advisor robert gibbs .
>> are you suggesting that mitt romney is guilty of some kind of felony here?
>> dale, what i'm suggesting is nobody has any idea because the only person with the tax returns is mitt romney .
>> this wave of attacks against mitt romney , they're a distraction from the real discussion which is we're in a jobs crisis and we're not talking about jobs.
>> release the tax returns . put all of this to rest.
>>> joining me now, "news nation" political columnist for the hill and keith is still with us. amy, will this get traction with people perhaps in the midwest? we know early on the people in washington said the bain capital attacks wouldn't work. the polling shows that to be different. is this the same regarding these offshore accounts and more tax returns that could be released?
>> oh, i think it definitely will get traction. i've spoken with conservatives who are worried about it, worried that the campaign is not realizing the impact it will have. you can make the argument if you work for mitt romney or you're the candidate himself against the bein attacks saying private equity is not a bad thing. there's a risk and reward. you save a lot of bad companies. you do create jobs. with this it's very hard to defend yourself against charges that you sent money overseas to gain the system so that you could pay taxes. he makes $57,000 a day on investment income and he pays a much lower rate than americans do on regular income. this is something that is not going to appeal to americans unless mitt romney comes out and says we must change our tax code because it is so gamable. i am one of the people who learned how to make an end run around the system. i have my money in other places around the world to avoid taxes and so we have to fix this problem. that's not what he's doing and so people are going to react negatively to this. if the bain attacks were working these will work.
>> so the conservative you've spoken with, a.b., who are concerned, are they not able to put pressure on governor romney especially after what we saw? we'll play a little bit in a second of the laundry list of democrats who were on the sunday morning programs hitting him from all sides on this.
>> well, they understand that the romney campaign is under attack from all sides about the flip in the middle of the week on tax and penalty. they understand the mitt romney campaign is defending itself against the criticism of the establishment of the party that's encouraging him to fire people and they know that there's a course correction underway. they hope the romney campaign is going to consider answering these attacks because this offshoring thing is not confusing. it's a straight populus argument that he has found a way to pay less than you and he knows how to game the system. unless they come out and really respond to this, if they think -- if they remain unconcerned, i think that these attacks will have a larger affect than the bain commercials.
>> keith , let me play a little bit for you, i know you saw it, what the democrats had to say on the sunday morning programs. let's play it back to back.
>> they ask themselves, why does an american businessman need a swiss bank account and secretive investments like that.
>> i've never known a swiss bank account to build an american bridge , a swiss bank account to create american jobs .
>> you get a swiss bank account to conceal what you're doing or you believe the swiss frank is stronger than the american dollar .
>> that's just a little bit of it. keith , in response governor romney 's team says president obama 's attacks on mitt romney have been proven false time and again. as job growth slows, manufacturing stalls and our economy sputters, president obama knows he can't make a legitimate run for president, so they're going to go personal. he's saying they won't go personal because things weren't great with this last jobs report.
>> these aren't personal issues, these are real issues that the american people have a right to know. not only did he have a swiss bank account but he has accounts or money in the cayman islands . he also has this shell company that operated in bermuda. the mysteriously transferred to his wife the day before he was sworn in as governor of massachusetts . and people are wanting to know what is it about this money that you're not disclosing? why haven't you revealed your tax returns . why hasn't your father disclosed several years of his tax returns . i think the question is it goes to the core of who mitt romney is. and whether his policies he's advocating tax cuts for the wealthy are just designed to benefit himself or are they designed to help the american people .
>> you know, it's interesting, a.b., robert gibbs pointed out that romney gave 23 years of tax returns to john mccain 's vetting committee when he wanted to be vp. he went on to say perhaps they see something in those returns over 23 years. can governor romney run the clock out on this or will you continue to have investigative reports and eventually, you know, the heat gets to the front door and he's got to do something more than release a statement from a spokesperson on this?
>> i don't know if he will feel enough pressure to release them, but obviously the obama campaign watched what happened in the primary campaign when there was so much pressure on mitt romney to release them before the general election . he kept saying i'm going to deal with this in the general election campaign or maybe in april. he was forced to deliver. he only produced 2010 returns and i guess an estimate for 2011 . that alone caused his numbers with independents and undecided republicans to take a nose dive. his approval from people earning $50,000 a year and less from december from the time he released the tax returns in late winter went way down. that is because the subject turned to subjects like $57,000 a day in investment income. he knows if we see all of those years, this conversation is going to stay on that and democrats will pick up something for attack ads. i don't know if they will let up if he doesn't release them, but i couldn't tell you whether they've decided they're going to be forced to come through with that in the end.
>> i think there's a bigger narrative, too, about who mitt romney is in terms of he's in the hamptons over the weekend, then goes to aspen. this is a guy who, forget about the car elevators, all of the other stuff, this is a guy the american people are still trying to figure out. i think these questions about his money have an impact on the way the american people will see him in the election. i think those are fair questions. i don't think he can push this off forever. even "the wall street journal " is starting to question what he's doing about this. these questions are going to come up again and again and again.
>> keith , a.b., thank you very much. i'm sure i'll see