ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who makes $8 million a year, pounced on the release of Mitt Romney's tax returns, sneering on Tuesday, "So, just how rich is Mitt Romney and is he paying his fair share of taxes?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The Good Morning America co-host excitedly told viewers, "Breaking overnight, the long-awaited tax returns from Mitt Romney finally revealed. Our team [is] poring over the numbers."
The answer, of course, is that Romney's earning was taxed at a corporate level and then again as it was distributed to him as a capital gains tax. Correspondent John Berman spun the Republican candidate as out of touch: "Mitt Romney earned more than $42 million over the last two years. Earning in a day, roughly, what the median American makes in a year."
A dollar sign audio clip punctuated Berman's attack. The reporter then implied that Romney's returns were somehow shady: "But through complicated accounting, listing most of the money made as capital gains and not income, his effective tax rate, about 14 percent." He then repeated an earlier remark, stressing that this is " the same as someone making $70,000 a year."
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Since Stephanopoulos is concerning himself with "just how rich" people are, it's interesting to see what his wife, Alexandra Wentworth, wrote for Elle Decor. She bragged about the elite style of the "power couple's" home:
... I called my style shrink, interior designer Elizabeth Martin. My roommate in boarding school, she had transformed our 12-foot-square dorm room into a Paris-style pied-à-terre. This time around, Beth did what any friend with a passion for Oly furniture and David Hicks textiles would do—grabbed her swatches and jumped on a plane.
We started with a whimsical color—fuchsia—inspired by my princess-obsessed daughters, Elliott and Harper. So the first thing you see when you walk through the front door is a pink settee paired with a black-and-white nude by Lucian Freud.
A partial transcript of the January 24 segment can be found below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Breaking overnight, the long-awaited tax returns from Mitt Romney finally revealed. Our team poring over the numbers. We have got the latest on how this will shake up the campaign. So, just how rich is Mitt Romney and is he paying his fair share of taxes?
ROBIN ROBERTS: But, let's get right to those brand new developments overnight. Mitt Romney releasing his 2010 tax returns and our reporting team has been poring through the numbers. ABC's John Berman is here with what we are learning. So, hat is the headline here?
JOHN BERMAN: The headline, Robin, really, is Mitt Romney makes a whole lot of money. More than $42 million over the last two years. He was reluctant to put out these numbers. Now we have seen them. Now, we know what he made. And at last night's debate, we learned more about what he's made of. Mitt Romney earned more than $42 million over the last two years. [Dollar sign sound.] Earning in a day, roughly, what the median American makes in a year. But, he gave away a lot, too, more than $7 million to charity over two years, including, initial reports say, more than $4 million to the Mormon church. His tax bill, more than $6 million over two years. But through complicated accounting, listing most of the money made as capital gains and not income, his effective tax rate, about 14 percent, the same as someone making $70,000 a year. Reports say he also listed off shore accounts in the Cayman Islands, first reported by ABC's Brian Ross and a closed account in Switzerland