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Ed Schultz, GOP Strategist Clash Over Implications Of Romney’s Bain, Tax Return Woes

On Monday night, Ed Schultz hammered Mitt Romney for not releasing additional tax returns, underlining that conservative pundits, too, have identified the issue as a problem and urged full disclosure. The panel largely agreed the issue poses a significant problem for the campaign — and while they clashed over specific implications and concerns, there seemed to be a general consensus encouraging transparency on Romney’s part.

It matters, Schultz asserted, adding that he’s not alone in thinking so. He went on to play a variety of clips in which pundits and politicians, ranging from George Will and Bill Kristol to Rahm Emanuel, all speak critically of Romney when it comes to this particular issue. Will summed it up best, Schultz said, playing the soundbite in which Will said Romney has clearly weighed the costs of not releasing the returns and decided they don’t outweigh the costs of making the information public. The general consensus, according to Schultz: there’s something there and it ain’t good.

He further went on to rail against the Bain Capital fiasco, arguing that someone with the kinds of executive titles Romney had cannot possibly have held those positions without playing an active role in the company, without having any responsibility. As the panel joined the discussion, Richard Wolffe asserted that the Romney campaign has an indecision problem, and he needs to decide which avenue he’s going to take on these issues. The story keeps on changing, he said. Romney’s remarks on Friday only made it worse, he argued, because in trying to come off strong, he simply “overstepped the mark.”

Rick Tyler, former communications director for Newt Gingrich, said Romney did well in the primaries citing an attack on free enterprise, and he might to do well to use such frame now as well. With regards to Bain, the documentation and compensation are inconsistent with his story, Tyler said, and he’ll have to explain it. At this point, the best thing to do is full transparency, he said.

Tyler and Schultz clashed over the implications of Romney’s releasing returns, and what kind of information would pose a problem politically. Schultz further questioned how long Republicans (not pundits, etc.) will put up with this, how long until they speak out on the issue. If this keeps up and the polls start looking troublesome, Wolffe said, there may well be more criticism to deal with.

Take a look, via MSNBC:

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