Political Animal


July 17, 2012 1:19 PM So’s Your Wife!

By Ed Kilgore

The latest twist in Mitt Romney’s fight against releasing his tax returns—a fight in which more and more Republicans seem to be defecting—is his effort to claim those mean old Democrats are holding him to a different standard than that other wealthy Massachusetts president nominee of recent years, John Kerry. Why? Because Kerry’s wife didn’t release all her tax returns!

The Kerry camp is firing back pretty strongly, per this report from the Boston Globe:

Romney and his surrogates have repeatedly claimed that Kerry, the Democratic nominee in 2004, made public just two years of tax returns, despite the fact that Kerry released five years of tax documents and consistently released earlier returns during his Senate races.
On Monday, after Romney brought Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, into the argument, the senator’s office blasted Romney, accusing him of “conjuring up false and convoluted alibis.”
“As Senator [Daniel Patrick] Moynihan once said, people are entitled to their own opinions, but they’re not entitled to their own facts,” said David Wade, Kerry’s chief of staff and the Democrat’s national spokesman during the presidential race eight years ago.
“The Romney campaign needs to stop getting their facts wrong about John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry,” Wade added, saying Kerry had put a total of 20 years of tax returns into the public domain by the time he ran for president.

So is Mitt willing to force his family members to release their tax returns? Who knows what might be hiding there? I really don’t think this is a discussion that will end well for Romney.

POSTSCRIPT: As it happens, I’ve just published a piece at TNR suggesting that Romney might learn a thing or two from Kerry’s experience in running for president in 2004, since Kerry, too, relied excessively on personal biography in presenting himself to voters, to his ultimate grief.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Hedda Peraz on July 17, 2012 1:58 PM:

    You seem to publish quite a few pieces at TNR.
    Are you moonlighting here, or over there?

    I also comment at Benen's site, but under a different name, to avoid the I.R.S. Romney told me how to do it.

  • c u n d gulag on July 17, 2012 2:08 PM:

    No wonder Kerry lost!

    And here I thought it was John running for President, and not Teresa Heinz.

    Mitt, that's pretty LAME!

    Remember, Mitt - SHE was the heir to a fortune, NOT John!

    Kind if reminds me of someone else...
    Can't think of his name...
    Wait... I GOT I...
    First name starts with an "M," I think.

    Maybe one of the other commenters here can help jog my memory.

  • Lifelong Dem on July 17, 2012 3:06 PM:

    In 2004, Republicans attacked Teresa Heinz Kerry pretty relentlessly and ruthlessly. Hell, at one point some Republicans were openly suggesting she might have mental problems.

    So if Mitt really wants to drag his wife into the campaign, he should realize that her tax returns will be the least of it.

  • jlt on July 17, 2012 3:43 PM:

  • tcinaz on July 17, 2012 5:44 PM:

    The delicious irony in all of this is the logic. Mitt claims he shouldn't have to release returns because Mrs. Kerry didn't have to release hers, and that wasn't an issue. But, it was because the Wall Street Journal embarked on a campaign calling for just that. Given that it was an issue, Romney just bought accidentally into the notion of wive's releasing returns. So, now how does he refute a insistence by the Wall Street Journal that Ann Romney, just as Teresa Kerry, should release her returns, which are, ta dah, his joint returns. We all knew the Republican primaries were a comedy show, and the comedy continues.