Gingrich Will Release Tax Returns if Nominated
Candidate's assurance comes after challenger Mitt Romney said he would not release his records.
A day after Mitt Romney said he would not release his tax returns, even if he was the nominee, his chief competitor said the opposite.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose campaign has been buffeted by allegations of influence-peddling and huge Tiffany's credit accounts, said he would release his tax records — but only if he was the nominee.
Gingrich press secretary R.C. Hammond alerted the press of that fact in a one-line email Thursday night. He reasserted it again strongly to Patch on Friday following a town hall event in downtown Columbia that drew hundreds of enthusiastic supporters.
"If he's the GOP nominee he will definitely release his tax returns. Absolutely," Hammond stressed pointedly.
It is a long-standing tradition over the past several decades for presidents and presidential candidates, especially party nominees, to release their tax returns. By pledging not to do so, political pundits and analysts believe that Romney — one of the richest men to run for the office — will likely harm his chances in a race where he has little room for error.
In the first three nominating contests — Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina — polls suggest Romney risks going one-for-three, potentially losing Iowa to Texas congressman Ron Paul, and South Carolina to Gingrich.
"Everybody knows Mitt's rich — so what has he got to hide?" remarked Clyde Westrich, a 28-year-old Gingrich supporter who attended Friday's town hall event at the Blue Marlin restaurant. "Maybe he didn't pay much taxes? God bless him if that's true, and he avoided them legally. Regardless, be a man about it."
Added Westrich: "Gingrich is super rich, too. I just really think Romney is being politically ignorant and showing who he really is: a patrician and a Northeast blueblood who is completely out of tune with middle class voters. This is one of those issues that could die tomorrow -- or it could totally bite him in the ass. Guess we'll see."