Didn’t Mitt Romney ever think, “If I run for president, I’ll have to release my tax return?” And to withhold your tax return, but sheepishly admit you pay a 15 percent tax rate was another terrible mistake by weak-willed Mitt. This episode is proving Romney isn't ready for the withering heat of the national media spotlight.
Why is it so hard for Mitt Romney to answer the 15 percent capital gains question? Romney needs to boldly declare that paying taxes on capital gains and dividends is not a crime. It's not the percentage you pay that determines what's fair. It's the amount. If Mitt pays millions in taxes per year, is that unfair? Where was the media when John Kerry ran for president and earned 99 percent of his income from capital gains? How come I never heard a firestorm back then?
Romney needs to point out that his multimillion-dollar investments in businesses, stocks, and real estate create jobs for many Americans. And his real tax rate is much higher than 15 percent, because the corporations he helps to fund pay taxes on their earnings before he sees a dime. And of course, capital gains are taxes paid on investments made with money you've already paid taxes on. Why isn't Romney fighting back?
Most importantly, if capital gains tax rates are raised, it will affect every American. It will destroy the retirement of millions of elderly Americans who live on their savings, stocks, and real estate. This is just more Obama class warfare to distract the voters. The real disturbing issue for Republicans is whether Romney is just a helpless, plastic automaton without the ability to fight back?
But let’s set all this aside for the moment. And examine a much more important question. Why do the media give Obama a free pass? Have they ever delved deeply into his past? I've believed all along that Obama has a big problem that he is hiding. I’ve believed all along it is not his birth certificate. It’s his college records. Why are they sealed?
If anyone should have questions about Obama’s record at Columbia University, it’s me. You see, I’m Obama’s college classmate.
We both graduated Columbia University, Class of ’83. We were both Pre-Law and Political Science majors. And I thought I knew most everyone at Columbia. I certainly thought I’d heard of all of my fellow Political Science majors. But I never met Obama. Never saw him. Never even heard of him. And not one of my friends in the Class of '83 ever met him, saw him, or heard of him.
Worse, The Wall Street Journal reported in 2008 that Fox News randomly called 400 of our Columbia classmates and never found one who had ever met Obama. Strange set of circumstances, don’t you think?
Now all of this mystery could be easily dismissed if Obama released his Columbia transcripts to the media. But he never has. Even after serving as president for three years. Even after all the rumors and whispers that something in his college years is amiss. He still won’t unseal his records. Shouldn’t the media be as relentless in pursuit of Obama’s records as Romney’s tax returns?
The first question I’d ask is, if you had great grades, why would you seal your records? Who would hide straight A’s? So let’s assume Obama got straight C’s and D’s. Why not release the records? He’s president of the free world, for gosh sakes. He’s commander-in-chief of the U.S. military. Who’d care about some bad grades 30 years ago, right? Doesn’t that make the media suspicious? Something doesn’t add up. Something smells rotten about my invisible classmate at Columbia.
Secondly, if this is just about bad grades, how’d he get into Harvard Law School with bad grades? I had excellent grades, yet my Columbia guidance counselor told me I shouldn’t even bother to apply to Harvard Law because of the brutal competition. Yet my classmate got into the finest law school in the world with awful grades that he’s embarrassed about? How?
Third, it’s been in the news that classmates at Obama’s first college, Occidental, claimed he had awful grades at Occidental. So please tell me how he got into Columbia, one of America’s Top 5 universities? Not just got in, but transferred in. My understanding is that Ivy League schools only let in a handful of transfers each year. So why would they let in a kid with poor grades from an average college like Occidental? Strange.
Fourth, I’ve heard it rumored that Obama got a leg up by being admitted to Columbia as a foreign exchange student. Is that true? Did he hold a passport from Indonesia? Did he receive easier admission by portraying himself as a foreigner? Did he receive financial aid as a foreign student — something not available to true-blue American classmates like me?
I asked one of my lawyer buddies to call Columbia U. and ask the simple question, “Can foreigners get aid to go to college at Columbia?” The answer, “Yes, we have lots of aid for foreign students. They might be able to get their entire tuition paid and go to Columbia for free.”
So did Obama portray himself as a foreigner to get easy admission and a free ride? He was raised in Indonesia. Did his mother ever change him back to a U.S. citizen? Or was this all too easy because he still had Indonesian citizenship and passport? If so, is he qualified to be president of the United States today? I don’t know. But shouldn’t someone in the media be interested in asking these questions?
And lastly, why do his classmates at Columbia not remember Obama? Was he a ghost? Did he never show up at class?
I have an idea. Let’s create the greatest trade in political history. Romney’s tax returns for Obama’s college transcripts.
And if that doesn’t work, let’s trade them both for a politician to be named later.
Wayne Allyn Root is a former libertarian vice presidential nominee who serves as chairman of the Libertarian National Congressional Committee. He is the best-selling author of "The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gold & Tax Cuts."
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