Did Ann Romney Really Call Americans 'You People' This Morning?

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Asked about releasing tax returns, the GOP candidate's wife says her family isn't hiding anything.

With Mitt Romney in attack mode, Ann Romney was on the TV circuit Thursday morning, talking to Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. During that interview, she was pressed on whether her husband will release his taxes for more than the last two years. Her comments are being widely reported as this:

We've given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life.

Needless to say, using "you people" is pretty much never a good look -- at the very least, it comes across as patronizing and condescending. Dan Amira reviewed the tape and comes away arguing that's not actually what she said -- that in fact she just stumbled verbally. It's a tough call, but you can watch and decide for yourself. But who cares if Ann Romney had a brief slip? As verbal gaffes go, this one ranks pretty low. People who see this as proof of Romney's irredeemable snobbiness almost certainly felt she was irredeemably snobby already. Nor is it news that the Romneys aren't big fans of the media.

Here's something more interesting from the interview (emphasis added):

You know, you should really look at where Mitt has led his life, and where he's been financially. He's a very generous person. We give 10 percent of our income to our church every year. Do you think that is the kind of person who is trying to hide things, or do things? No. He is so good about it. Then, when he was governor of Massachusetts, didn't take a salary for four years.

This is not a compelling argument. To claim that you're not hiding anything when you are expressly hiding something -- your tax returns -- makes little sense. No one wants the entire world combing through their taxes, but there are certain prices one pays for the privilege of becoming (or trying to become) the leader of the free world. The easiest way to end these questions is to release the returns.

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David A. Graham

David Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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