I have a new column at Forbes.com about the fallout from the comments that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney made at a closed press fundraiser in Florida last weekend. Lurking on a nearby sidewalk, uninvited reporters overheard a different side of the presumptive Republican nominee – specific yet bold, conservative yet with crossover appeal.
In the privacy of a Florida backyard, Romney shared ideas for eliminating federal agencies and tax deductions in ways that he has not yet discussed in public. While there are fair questions about some of these proposals (especially getting rid of deductions only for certain income brackets instead of across the board), there is no question that Romney needs to take his case to the American people. No one else will do it for him.
Advisers for President Barack Obama jumped on Romney for having something to hide – a richly ironic attack considering that an open microphone recently caught Obama promising Russian President Dmitry Medvedev “more flexibility” on missile defense and other issues after the election. No doubt Romney would have the easier time explaining his statements, and let’s hope he does. Voters deserve the opportunity to decide for themselves which candidate really has something to hide.