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Until recently I have remained undecided about the upcoming US Presidential election, seeing both positive and negatives with each candidate. Barack Obama has not achieved anything close to the promises made during the election (unsurprising) and Mitt Romney's time in Massachusetts as Governor left me with more questions than answers.
However, the actions of the candidate and his team during this recent overseas trip makes it clear that Mitt Romney is not prepared to be the next President of the United States.
First, this article from The Hill does a great job of covering the failures of Romney's current overseas trip.
But when reporters began shouting questions about whether gaffes — including comments about Britian's Olympic preparedness and Israeli culture that leaders in the United Kingdom and Palestine denounced publicly — had overshadowed the foreign trip, traveling press secretary Rick Gorka admonished them to "show some respect."
A reporter from The New York Times then pointed out that the traveling press corps had had few opportunities to ask questions during the trip; Romney has only answered three questions during the week from the pack of reporters traveling with him.
"Kiss my a--," Gorka responded. "This is a holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect."
Were the reporters being disrespectful in their timing about these questions? Perhaps. Do the people of the world have a right to ask a potential Presidential candidate questions? Absolutely. Romney continues to show a complete lack of interest in transparency, collaboration, and communication, except with those that are bringing campaign contributions forward.
Then there are the tax returns. The Romney camp continues to hold out on sharing his older tax returns, leading both Republicans and Democrats to push for more transparency. ABC News did get a commitment from Romney to share more information on this taxes this past weekend, another broken commitment:
Despite telling ABC News over the weekend he’d be “happy” to hand over more information on his past tax returns, Mitt Romney has yet to follow up on their request.
Romney has steadfastly refused to release any tax returns from earlier than last year despite pressure from both Democrats and Republicans alike to shed more light on his finances. However, he said in an interview on Sunday he’d at least check whether he ever paid a lower rate than the 13.9% from 2010.
“I haven’t calculated that,” Romney told ABC’s David Muir. “I’m happy to go back and look, but my view is I’ve paid all the taxes required by law. From time to time I’ve been audited as happens I think to other citizens as well and the accounting firm which prepares my taxes has done a very thorough and complete job pay taxes as legally due.”
But ABC says Romney officials have not gotten back to them on whether Romney ever paid a lower tax rate than 13.9% despite their repeated queries. Instead, they received a rehash of Romney’s already disclosed taxes and charitable donations from 2010, suggesting that Romney may have overpromised in his interview what his campaign was willing to reveal.
If you do want to get time with Mitt Romney it may simply be that you have to pay for it. While his time with reporters was limited on his overseas trip he did make time for a fundraiser in Israel where he raised more than $1 million for his campaign.
The citizens of the United States deserve a Presidential candidate that respects both the citizens of the Unites States as well as the citizens of the world. They deserve a candidate that understands the importance of transparency, of collaboration. Mitt Romney is making it clear on a near daily basis that he is not that candidate.