The Obama campaign has something about Kinko’s.
Robert Gibbs, the Obama campaign adviser and former White House press secretary, is offering to pay the copying tab at Kinko’s for Mitt Romney’s tax returns — “I’ll send him the nickels,” Gibbs said on CNN’s State of the Union today.
President Barack Obama himself has spoken of the good old days of campaigning for state Senate in Illinois, where he and his wife went down to Kinko’s to print some flyers.
But this is no laughing matter.
This is about an issue Romney wants to go away, the issue that Democrats won’t let go of.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada stirred it up again last week, when he asserted in a number of venues that Romney hasn’t paid taxes for 10 years.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus today called Reid a “dirty liar” for saying that — though the real “Dirty Harry,” actor Clint Eastwood, endorsed Romney’s presidential campaign the other night in Sun Valley.
“We could put all this stuff to rest tomorrow,” Gibbs said today on CNN. “Mitt Romney can go to Kinko’s. He can photocopy his tax returns. There are several hundred pages. He could hand them out to people like CNN. He could hand them out to reporters all over the country. And, you know what, we wouldn’t talk about this tomorrow. We wouldn’t say, `Is he paying taxes? What’s he paying?’ The whole world would know exactly what loopholes he’s taking advantage of…”
“I’ll send him the nickels,” Gibbs said. “I think it’s a nickel a page.”
“I have paid taxes every year, and a lot of taxes,” Romney said in Reid’s home state the other day.
Romney has released his 2010 tax returns, which showed an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent paid on $21.7 million of investment income. He has pledged to release his 2011 returns when accountants are finished with the report, for which he has sought an extension.
“I was told by an extremely credible source that Romney has not paid taxes for ten years,” Reid said in a statement issued the other night, following up on comments he’d made on the Senate floor. “People who make as much money as Mitt Romney have many tricks at their disposal to avoid paying taxes. We already know that Romney has exploited many of these loopholes, stashing his money in secret, overseas accounts in places like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.”
Romney has had this to say to the majority leader at his appearance in Nevada: “Harry Reid really has to put up or shut up. Harry, who are your sources?”
Romney could shut him up, of course — though both he and his wife have maintained that releasing more returns will only provide more fodder for Democrats to attack him. The Obama campaign already is airing ads reminding people that Romney pays less taxes than they do. (As a percentage, that is.)
“As far as Harry Reid is concerned,” Priebus said today on ABC News’ “This Week. ”“Listen, I know you might want to go down that road. I’m not going to respond to a dirty liar who hasn’t filed a single page of tax returns himself. (He) complains about people with money but lives in the Ritz Carlton here down the street. So if that’s on the agenda, I’m not going to go there. This is just a made-up issue. And the fact that we’re going to spend any time talking about it is ridiculous.”
“The visual of Mitt Romney doing his tax cuts (sic) at Kinko’s is sort of throwing me, ” CNN’s Candy Crowley said, with a Freudian slip about the candidate also promising to cut taxes.
“I would tell Mitt Romney, if he wants — if he wants all this debate to go away — and let’s be clear,” Gibbs said. “Harry Reid isn’t the one who’s made this debate. Mitt Romney has brought this to the fore. This has been something that has been talked about well back into the Republican primaries.”
“We do know, in the one tax return that he did put out, we found out he had a Swiss bank account that wasn’t on his financial disclosure, OK?” said Gibbs, whose campaign has put that Swiss account on TV, too. “So we do know that he has used not releasing his tax returns to hide where his money is.
“Candy, he’s not at Kinko’s making photocopies. He’s not — he doesn’t have any intention of checking,” Gibbs said. “I’ve never seen anybody jump through more hoops to say, A, that somebody is lying, but also not put out a document that would prove what the real truth is.”
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a congressman from South Florida, said on the show with Priebus that Romney could clear the air by releasing more returns.
“I do know that Mitt Romney could clear this up in ten seconds by releasing the 23 years of tax returns that he gave to John McCain when he was being vetted for vice president. Or even 12 years of tax returns that his own father said were what was appropriate. Because one year of tax returns, like he’s released, could just be for show,” said Wasserman Schultz, adding that she does not know Reid’s source.
And, so, “Chicago” is not telling Reid to shut up, Crowley asked Gibbs in not so many words.
`Let’s be clear,” Gibbs said. “I don’t think anybody controls Harry Reid.”