MSNBC's Halperin: 'Media Is Very Susceptible to Doing What the Obama Campaign Wants'

On Saturday's Today show on NBC, after co-host Lester Holt asked if the issue of Mitt Romney's tax returns has "jumped the shark" yet, MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin asserted that "the press still likes this story a lot," and that "The media is very susceptible to doing what the Obama campaign wants, which is to focus on this."

(Video can be found here.)

But he concluded that the economy and Medicare will be more important issues to voters, arguing that "it's mostly something that the press and insiders care about. It's an important issue about transparency, but there are other bigger issues in the campaign."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Saturday, August 18, Today show on NBC:

LESTER HOLT: The Obama folks clearly know they found some traction on this tax return issue with Romney. And then, of course, late in the week, comes this challenge: Give us a little more, and we won't complain anymore. Has this issue come to the point it's jumped the shark?

MARK HALPERIN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the press still likes this story a lot. The media is very susceptible to doing what the Obama campaign wants, which is to focus on this. I don't think there's any chance, at this point, you saw Ann Romney on Rock Center saying that's it, we're not putting out any more. He does have one more year of returns coming. Last year's returns will be out in a few weeks. I'm pretty sure that's all he's going to put out.

Do voters care about it? I don't think so. The economy is still top, front, and center. The Medicare debate's important. I think it's mostly something that the press and insiders care about. It's an important issue about transparency, but there are other bigger issues in the campaign, I think.