Mitt Romney has a history of giving different answers to the same question depending upon which of his shifting interests he is trying to serve at the time of his answer.

Bain Capital

With Bain, there were deals that worked well and deals that went badly, especially for the employees of companies being acquired. Mitt takes credit for all that is good, but claims he was "running the Olympics" when Bain was taking companies into bankruptcy, firing employees, and taking away their health insurance.

The problem is that during the time he claimed he had "nothing to do with Bain", he was drawing a substantial salary and signing documents that were filed with the Securities Exchange Commission, stating that he was President, Chief Executive Officer, and sole shareholder. Romney buddy and spokesperson Ed Gillespie explained the apparent anomaly, saying Mitt, "resigned retroactively" from Bain after he finished his Olympic duties.

Massachusetts Governors Race

Retroactivity is a tool that people with fluid aspirations use when their interests "mature".

When Mitt went to Utah in 1999 to work on the Olympics, he was in search of a place to start a political career when his Olympic gig was over. Utah, with its large Mormon population, was a promising prospect if he did a good job. Massachusetts was less attractive at the time, because it had a sitting Republican governor sufficiently entrenched to withstand a challenge.

Mitt bought a house and filed income taxes as a Utah resident. Then, surprise. The Republican governor of Massachusetts made herself so unpopular party bigwigs in Massachusetts and nationally convinced her not to run for re-election and prevailed upon Mitt to come back and run for governor in her place.

The problem was, Mitt had filed income taxes as a Utah resident, and thus, could not meet the requirement in Massachusetts law that he be a resident of Massachusetts for the prior 7 years.

Problem? No problem. Mitt amended his tax return to show that he, retroactively, was a resident of Massachusetts while living in Utah, and was, therefore, in compliance with Massachusetts law entitling him to run for governor of the state. This gambit works best if you have sufficient resources to own dwellings in multiple states to retroactively move into and out of. (It would be interesting to see the paperwork he filed with the state of Utah to get the taxes he paid refunded.)

To this day, the national press has given him a pass on this deception, without which he would never have made it on the ballot to run for governor of Massachusetts.


To this date, Mitt has not released any complete income tax returns. The general perception is that he released taxes for 2010 and that 2011 will be released on October 15.

The fact is that his 2010 release is not complete. It does not include a document entitled, Report on Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, which is required of taxpayers who disclose the existence of foreign bank accounts.

You can take it to the bank that the report in question is being withheld because the information contained in it is not helpful to Mitt's candidacy.


Ann Romney has emerged as the point person when explaining "unusual" family matters to the press. If the subject is whether the public is entitled to more information about the Romney finances, a Marie Antoinette-like imperviousness descends upon the question and the questioner. It becomes very clear that Lady Ann is not pleased.

In a tone reeking with entitlement, Lady Ann told ABC Morning anchor Robin Roberts, "We've given you people all you need to know about our financial situation." In a later interview, when asked about income tax disclosures, she indicated nothing more would be forthcoming, "Because, when we release more, we get attacked."

Lady Ann has spoken. The people have received all they need to know, and she will not abide criticism or, heaven forbid, attack.

The press has cut the Romney campaign a lot of slack. On taxes, however, Mitt has opened the door for some well-crafted questions based on his assertion that he's "paid a lot of taxes" and that he's "never paid less than 14%" in the last 10 years. Next week, we will suggest some focused questions that explore the areas that Mitt prefers to keep hidden from "you people." – Tom Callaghan