What retreat looks like

About a month ago, Mitt Romney was asked whether he’d release his tax returns. He said, “I doubt it,” adding, “I don’t intend to.”

Eight days later, Romney said he’d “consider” releasing his tax returns, but the disclosure would only come after he’s elected to the White House.

Earlier this week, Romney said he’s “not opposed” to disclosure, “if” there’s been a “tradition.” He added he’ll “keep that open” around “the April time period.”

Last night, Romney said he’ll “probably” release his tax returns. Asked about previous years, he said, “Maybe.”

And that led to a new position this morning on Fox News.

“I’ll release those on April 15.”

For those keeping score at home, that’s five different positions on disclosure in just four weeks.

Also note, when Romney addressed the subject this morning, he said he doesn’t want to “give the Democrats a nice little present of having multiple releases.”

I’m not sure why Republicans should find this reassuring: if Romney’s tax returns include “presents” for Democrats, why should GOP primary voters spend the next three months voting for him?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.