Mitt Romney's selected running mate Rep. Paul Ryan said he will only release two years of tax returns to the public in solidarity with the wealthy former governor who has steadfastly refused to put out any additional returns.
"I'm going to release the same amount of years that Gov. Romney has, but I gotta tell you Bob," Ryan said to Bob Schieffer on CBS' 60 Minutes.
"And how many is that?" cut in Schieffer who undoubtedly knew Romney has released one year's worth of his tax returns, which caused him a heap of controversy (Cayman Islands anyone?), as well as one estimated return.
"Two—I'm going to be releasing two, which is what he's releasing," Ryan said.
The Wisconsin congressman, who was interviewed by Schieffer alongside Romney, then got back to the standard Republican defense line that follows any questioning of Romney's tax return whereabouts: it's a distraction that no one cares about.
"What I hear from people around this country is they're not asking where are the tax returns," Ryan said. "They're asking where are the jobs, where's the economic growth? I think these are more or less distractions."
Unfortunately for team Romney, though, that defense is wrong. A CNN/ORC International poll released last week showed that 63% of Americans, and 67% of independents believe Romney should release more of his returns.
The polling also showed that the image of Romney as a wealthy man who only wants to protect the 1% is sticking. It found that 64% of Americans overall and 68% of independents believe Romney favors the rich over the middle class.
The comment on taxes comes at the end of the CBS video clip posted above, shortly after the pair defend their tax cuts for the rich as a matter of fairness, and after Ryan says straight-faced that their budget plan will "take away the tax shelters that are uniquely enjoyed by the people in the top tax brackets so they can’t shelter as much money from taxation so you can lower tax rates for everybody."
Ryan also accuses President Obama of taking "corporate welfare" to a "whole new level."