Mitt Romney and his aides believe that — despite loud and nagging calls for him to release his tax returns — the candidate simply cannot afford to release his taxes now, even as some aides wish he would have put them out six months ago or more.
With less than three months to election day, the Romney campaign has passed the "point of no return," as one Republican operative close to the campaign put it, beyond which there isn't enough time for the media to digest the tax returns before the public starts to pay attention to the race.
"The complaining for more and more returns and the stories about how rich he is get old after a few weeks, but there aren't a few weeks left," the operative said. "Now we've got to keep doing what we're doing and hope it isn't too painful."
"It makes Reid look crazy, but it's brilliant," the operative continued." The only thing voters hear is that someone important says Mitt Romney didn't pay taxes for 10 years, which is just false."
One Romney aide who privately supported the candidate releasing the returns during the Republican primary is now convinced it won't help.
"If we release six, they'll demand seven," the aide said, expressing frustration that the returns were not put out earlier this year giving the issue time to settle. "I don't get why people say we should release them now. Now's not the time to release anything."
Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson has taken to Twitter to celebrate that Romney has addressed his boss's comments for the second time, now in an interview today with Fox News.