Romney: I don't have to release my tax returns just because my dad started the tradition

As Ed wrote in his recap of last night’s debate, Mitt Romney’s repeated mishandling of questions about his tax returns is a problem for the former Massachusetts governor. He shouldn’t have to release his returns and the fuss about his taxes has been frankly frustrating, but, nevertheless, he does need to be prepared to handle the question. That he stumbled on the topic last night was especially disheartening. He had fielded the question before; it should have been easier to field the second time!

From the sounds of an interview he gave radio host Laura Ingraham today, Romney still hasn’t mastered an effective line of defense — but he did explain himself a little better to her than he did on the debate stage last night. He started off poorly, weakly complaining that he shouldn’t have to release his returns just because his father started the tradition. Eventually, though, he gains steam.

“I think what they want to show is that I’m wealthy,” Romney said in the Eureka! statement of the interview. “Let me tell you: I am wealthy. I’ve been successful. I did not inherit my wealth; I created my wealth.”

Americans love a success story — but Romney, for whatever reason, has refused to tell his. That he is wealthy is not nearly so relevant for presidential campaign purposes as how he came by that wealth — and how he plans to translate his own experience into a plan to preserve, improve and expand get-rich opportunities for the rest of us.