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Steve Kornacki's latest article: An offer Mitt will definitely refuse

The Obama campaign has come up with a new ploy to keep questions about Mitt Romney’s taxes in the news: a publicly-released challenge to release three more years of returns in exchange for a promise to let the matter go there.

In a publicly-released letter to his Romney campaign counterpart, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina promises that if Romney complies “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.”

So far, Romney has released records for just one year – 2010 – along with an estimate for 2011 and a pledge to make that year’s full return public when it becomes available. The politically damaging details contained in those documents aroused suspicions that earlier returns include equally (if not more) toxic revelations, and Romney’s steadfast refusal to release anything else has only fanned the flames.

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