Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will lead a rally at the Dayton International Airport this afternoon, the stop part of their bus tour of Ohio. The hope is, obviously, to put behind a couple of turbulent weeks for the Republican presidential campaign that concluded with the release of a second year of the Romney income tax returns.
No surprise that Romney paid at a relatively low tax rate of 14 percent on $13.7 million in income. That is explained largely by the lower tax rate on capital gains. Neither was it surprising that he got tangled in his own words.
Not too long ago, Romney insisted he never paid below 13 percent. He also told ABC News in July that failing to take all the deductions legally available to him would raise questions about whether he was qualified to be president. What did he do when he appeared headed toward paying near 10 percent on his 2011 return? He forfeited enough charitable deductions to inflate his tax bill.
Not qualified to be president? Hardly. The concern about the Romney returns isn’t the effective tax rate. It is going to be low. Troubling is that finessing with the latest return echoes the worry his father shared when running for president in 1968: A year or two easily can be made to look better.
That’s why George Romney released a dozen years. Paul Ryan turned over 10 years as part of examining his fitness to join the ticket. Now Mitt Romney wants voters to put him in the Oval Office. One required hurdle should be his coming clean with a similar set of his tax returns.