by Patrick Appel
Obama's campaign manager e-mailed Romney's campaign manager this message:
I am writing to ask again that the Governor release multiple years of tax returns, but also to make an offer that should address his concerns about the additional disclosures. Governor Romney apparently fears that the more he offers, the more our campaign will demand that he provide. So I am prepared to provide assurances on just that point: if the Governor will release five years of returns, I commit in turn that we will not criticize him for not releasing more–neither in ads nor in other public communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign.
Do you ever get the feeling the Obama campaign wakes up every morning thinking, "What can we do today to goad the Romney campaign and the media to discuss something other than jobs?"
The e-mail exchange illustrates why campaigns usually respond to legitimate criticisms. The Obama campaign will attack Romney no matter what, but, if Romney had promptly released his tax returns, Obama would have been forced to pick up a weaker political bludgeon. Instead, Obama can focus attacks on an issue where many Republicans agree with him.
Romney refusing to release his returns isn't a sign of strength. It's a sign of stupidity.