Coming on the heels of Mitt Romney’s claim Thursday that he had paid at least a 13 percent rate on his taxes the past 10 years, the Obama campaign penned an open letter today, offering a deal if Romney releases five years of tax returns.
In a response, the Romney campaign did not address the offer, and instead attacked President Obama for focusing on his taxes at the expense of the economy and jobs.
The letter, from campaign manager Jim Messina to Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades, says that "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."
He goes on to call the request, which covers returns from 2007 to 2012, “not unreasonable,” claiming that it would answer questions about Romney’s effective rate in other years, in addition to providing information on foreign accounts, foreign investments and tax shelters. Romney has thus far released his 2010 return and an estimate for 2011.
However, the no-criticism deal does not appear to extend to the information that is contained in the tax returns.
Rhoades had this response to the offer: "Hey Jim, thanks for the note. It is clear that President Obama wants nothing more than to talk about Governor Romney’s tax returns instead of the issues that matter to voters, like putting Americans back to work, fixing the economy and reining in spending." He made no indication of taking up the offer, but added: "If Governor Romney’s tax returns are the core message of your campaign, there will be ample time for President Obama to discuss them over the next 81 days."