So’s Your Wife!

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

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.