ABC Hypes: Mitt Romney 'Finally Ready' to Address Taxes, Network Touts Own Role in Story
Good Morning America's Josh Elliott on Friday yet again hyped the issue of Mitt Romney's taxes. Guest anchor Elliott touted, "And Mitt Romney finally ready to address that question about his taxes." Amy Robach thrilled, "Mitt Romney, for the first time revealing new information about his tax returns...But why now?"
The candidate on Thursday asserted that he had "never" paid lower than a 13 percent tax rate. Reporter David Muir played up ABC's own role in this supposed new revelation: "Romney went back and checked after our sit down with him two weeks ago. At the time, we asked him about the tax rate he paid and the one completed tax return he has released." Muir then played a clip of him asking the Republican whether or not he had "ever" paid less than 13.9 percent.
Pushing Romney on taxes isn't new for ABC. On July 19, Robin Roberts talked to Ann Romney and wondered, "Your husband has been adamant about only the two years that will be released. Why will he not follow the example of others on both sides of the aisle?"
On August 4, weekend GMA co-host Bianna Golodryga seemed impressed by the way Harry Reid was recklessly spreading rumors about Romney. She enthused, "Harry Reid, always one to speak his mind."
At least on Friday Muir pushed the Democratic senator to provide proof for the claim that Romney hasn't paid taxes in ten years: "So, we called Senator Harry Reid's office. We were told, Reid is on vacation. Are you guys going to release the source?"
A transcript of the August 17 segment can be found below:
AMY ROBACH: Mitt Romney, for the first time revealing new information about his tax returns first asked by ABC's David Muir two weeks ago. But why now? And already this morning, Democrats are saying, prove it.
JOSH ELLIOTT: We're going to turn to the campaign trail. And Mitt Romney finally ready to address that question about his taxes. And all while the White House is now responding to all that talk about replacing Joe Biden. One familiar face saying, go with Hillary Clinton. It is your voice, your vote. And ABC's David Muir just back from the trail this morning, sorting through it all for us.
DAVID MUIR: Never a dull moment, right, Josh? Good morning to you. Governor Romney clearly seemed ready to answer that question. But not without arguing that with 23 million Americans out of work, quote, "the fascination with the taxes I paid, I find to be very small-minded." But Democrats remain firm this morning, even after Romney revealed his tax rate. The Obama campaign saying, prove it. This morning, Mitt Romney revealing the most yet about the rate he paid on his income taxes after relentless calls from the Obama campaign to release more than the two years of tax returns Romney has promised.
MITT ROMNEY: Over the past ten years, I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that.
MUIR: Romney went back and checked after our sit down with him two weeks ago. At the time, we asked him about the tax rate he paid and the one completed tax return he has released. Was there ever a year you paid lower than the 13.9 percent?
ROMNEY: I haven't calculated that. I'm happy to go back and look. But my view is, I have paid all the taxes required by law.
MUIR: But, now, Romney answering that question and taking aim at Democrat Harry Reid, who said a source told him Romney didn't pay taxes for ten years.
ROMNEY: Harry Reid's charge is totally false. I'm sure waiting for Harry to put up who it was that told him what they told him.
MUIR: So, we called Senator Harry Reid's office. We were told, Reid is on vacation. Are you guys going to release the source?
ADAM JENTLESON (Sen. Reid's spokesperson): Senator Reid has no intention of doing that. No.
MUIR: Meantime, Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, who has blasted President Obama's stimulus was asked about reports that Ryan requested stimulus funds for Wisconsin, citing letters written by Ryan's office in 2009.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is that report accurate?
PAUL RYAN: I haven't seen this report, so I really can't report on it.
MUIR: In a statement afterwards, Ryan acknowledged and defended those letters, calling them constituent services. And while campaigning in Ohio, Ryan went on the offensive, having fun at Vice President Joe Biden's expense, who this week confused which state he was in.
RYAN: It is great to be here in North Canton. Or as Joe Biden might say, it's great to be here in Nevada!
MUIR: Republicans, including John McCain, have suggested that the President replace Joe Biden on the ticket. McCain suggesting Hillary Clinton.
JAY CARNEY: One place I would not go for advice on vice presidential running mates is to Senator McCain.
MUIR: A reference there to Sarah Palin, the pick four years ago. Overnight, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal joined the Republican ranks going after Joe Biden now, saying of Mitt Romney's pick of Paul Ryan, it was a great choice, a bold choice. But the bolder choice was made by the President, he said, in keeping Joe Biden. Nothing like a little friendly back and forth.
ELLIOTT: And labor day still weeks away.