Romney's Tax Returns Are Like Obama's Flag Pin

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Writing at the New York Daily News, The Root's contributing editor David Swerdlick says that the president's experience could teach Romney a lesson about the "small-minded" issue of his history with the IRS.

It's a question Romney can't shake, and I think [I] know why: every time he balks at releasing (four, six, eight?) years of returns, he's telling voters that he's not willing to jump through hoops for them — he wants to be their President, but won't play their "small-minded" games. It'd be like then-Sen. Barack Obama telling voters in 2008 that he refused to put an American flag pin on his lapel because it was "small-minded."

Back then, remember, Obama wasn't yet the guy who'd ordered the SEALs in to take out Osama bin Laden. Before people knew him as an ice-cold commander in chief, he was the young freshman senator who'd very publicly opposed the invasion of Iraq. And at first, he went around on the trail with his suit jacket unadorned, since it wasn't his style to wear his patriotism — literally — on his sleeve …

But once Obama put the flag pin on, he neutralized the issue, so that it couldn't be used to attack him. He also sent a message that he was willing to bow to voters' wishes on an issue that, in the end, really didn't change how he planned to go about governing, but that still helped establish their confidence in him.

It's the same now for Romney …

Read David Swerdlick's entire piece at the Daily News.

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David Swerdlick is an associate editor at The Root. Follow him on Twitter