4:39 pm Jul. 16, 20121
Add Peter King to the list of Republicans who would like to see Mitt Romney release more tax returns.
"Since I have nothing to worry about with my tax returns, unfortunately—it's just a lot of W-2s—I would say he should release more," King told me this afternoon. "And I would think he has it worked out as to how he's going to do it. A lot of it is going to be timing, because no matter what he puts out, he's going to be attacked. Because if you're in kind of an upper category, the average person is not going to be able to identify with your tax return. I think he realizes that, so they'll probably time it when it's going to have the least impact."
Democrats have so far succeeded in keeping the issue in the news, but King said he doesn't see this "being a lasting issue."
"It's sort of like a fight," he said. "The early rounds are going to go to Obama because it's a hard issue to explain. They're coming at you saying, 'you sent jobs overseas, you said you weren't working at the company but then you signed papers saying you are.' And the more you try to explain it, the more you dig yourself in. But as you go forward, I think Romney is going to show he's an honest guy and there's nothing there. After all is said and done, they're still going to have high unemployment. And Romney did nothing wrong."
Romney has so far suggested his disclosures are more than sufficient, and rather than cave to the political pressure to release more of his returns, the Romney camp tried to change the discussion today with a new attack on President Obama.
Still, King said he thinks Romney will release more returns.
"Yeah, I think between now and the election, yeah I do," he said. "Any deduction is going to look—it's not a deduction that a guy living off a W-2 takes or is aware of, you know," but, King said, "I would just as soon get it out."
Asked about Romney's potential vice presidential picks, King said he likes his former House colleague Rob Portman, or former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who has been viewed skeptically by other pro-life conservatives for her pro-choice positions.
"I'm pro-life, but Condi Rice is willing to accept certain restrictions on abortion," King said.
King wasn't at the recent Romney retreat where Rice reportedly wowed the crowd of top donors, but he said she did the same thing at a fund-raiser on his behalf back in October.
"It was a fairly high-powered group of people there, and she was phenomenal," he said. "Just the way she could go from country to country, make it lucid, tie it in to American interests. She comes off, rightfully so, as a smart, dedicated person; there's not even a hint of any problem in anything she's ever done.
"And she also went to Notre Dame, so we talk about that, Notre Dame football."