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Mitt Romney Faces Scrutiny From Own Party on Tax Returns

by Peter Barbour, published
Photo: Gage Skidmore

It is not easy running for public office, especially president of the United States. Once you become a candidate for president, you have alienated at least 40-45% of all Americans. It gets worse once you become the nominee. The next 3+ months will be rough sledding for President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

While the challenge for the president will be defending his record on the economy and National Debt, Romney's challenge at the moment appears to be his tax returns. There are more calls for the presumptive GOP nominee to release more of his tax returns, and the bad news for Romney is that these calls are not just coming from Democrats.

Texas congressman and GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul said in an interview with The Politico that Romney should release more of his tax returns. Former Mississippi GOP Governor Haley Barbour told CNN if he were in Romney's position, he would release more than 2 years of tax returns. Alabama GOP Governor Robert Bentley recently said at the National Governor's Association Annual Meeting "I think he ought to release everything. I believe in total transparency. You know if you have things to hide, then you may be doing things wrong."

Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard said on Fox News Sunday "He should release the tax returns tomorrow. It's crazy. You got to release six, eight, 10 years of back tax returns. Take the hit for a day or two." Other prominent Republicans calling on Romney to release more of his tax returns include Rep. Walter Jones (NC), Senator Richard Lugar (IN), and Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Thus far, Romney has resisted the calls for more tax returns, but he may be forced to change his view. According to a USA Gallup snapshot poll done Wednesday night, most Americans surveyed (54%) say Romney should release additional tax returns, while 37% say he should not.

As you would expect, most Democrats said he should release more returns and most Republicans said he should not. But it's Independent voters that will swing this election and on this issue, most Independents surveyed said Romney should release more returns.

There are more important issues for most Americans, and Governor Romney and his supporters may feel like this is being used by President Obama and his supporters to change the subject. Bottom line is in politics when criticism is coming only from your opponents you can deal with it, but when it comes from people within your own party and columnists who are normally supportive, that's a problem and it is what's happening with Romney on the tax returns.

If Romney continues to refuse to release more of his returns, where other candidates have released more than two years of returns, it only feeds the notion that he does have something to hide.

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