The issue of Mitt Romney’s wealth just won’t go away for the Republican presidential front-runner, Politico
reports. At Thursday’s debate, for example, the former Massachusetts governor called himself “someone who’s lived in the real streets of America.” That line didn’t go over too well given estimates that Romney is worth more than $200 million.
He’s taking a lot of heat for refusing to release his tax returns until April, especially after rival Newt Gingrich released his during the debate.
“It’s a symptom of the bigger class-warfare attack, and thus, subject to demagoguery,” Florida GOP operative Rick Wilson told Politico
. “They ought to have released all the tax stuff a year ago, had the fracas, and popped the bubble early.”
Romney’s promise to release returns in April drew boos from the debate audience. When he was asked whether he would follow in his late father’s footsteps by releasing 12 years of returns, Romney’s response was a waffling “maybe.” The crowd laughed and then booed.
“I’ll take a look at what our documents are, and I’ll release multiple years,” Romney said. “I don’t know how many years, but I’ll be happy to do that.”
Gingrich knew how to handle that response. “If there’s anything in there that’s gonna help us lose the election, then we should know it before the nomination,” he said.
While Romney’s tax returns aren’t an issue to Republican voters in South Carolina now, that could change, South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly told Politico.
And taxes aren’t the only wealth issue for Romney. He has repeatedly sought to portray himself as an average American in ways that don’t quite jibe with reality.
In Thursday’s debate, for example, Romney presented himself as a self-made man, despite his wealthy upbringing. “I went off on my own,” he said. “I didn’t inherit money from my parents. What I have I earned, I worked hard, the American way.”
But Romney’s parents gave him assistance in buying his first home, according to “The Real Romney,” a biography written by Boston Globe journalists.
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