Romney's tax return release half-measured

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney acknowledges donors after he spoke at a campaign fundraising event in Del Mar, Calif. (Sept. 22, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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Ellis Henican Newsday columnist Ellis Henican

Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and ...

Mitt Romney winked.

It wasn't a full blink -- just half of one -- because the Republican presidential nominee released only a snapshot of the taxes he and his wife paid over the past two decades instead of putting out the full returns.

These half-measures never work. No one is ever satisfied.

In fact, the Friday afternoon doc dump raised as many questions as it answered: Like why not release the full returns as most presidential candidates have? Like why put out anything at all after insisting for months that Americans don't need to know? Like why pay more than was owed in 2011, forgoing basic charitable deductions? Hadn't Romney said back in July as the release-your-taxes controversy was heating up: "If I had paid more than are legally due, I don't think I'd be qualified to become president"?

Well, on second thought . . .

The real problem Romney faces isn't about his tax returns or even the precise rate he has or hasn't paid. It's that all the wiggling over the issue has played into a pre-existing impression of him -- that he is disconnected from far too many of the people he'd like to govern, maybe 47 percent or so.

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So late in a spiraling political season, it's hard to imagine what can still reverse that.

APPS STILL NEEDED

1.An app to warn clueless politicians, "Someone's iPhone camera is videotaping your secret fundraising speech."

2.An app to get me out of my current service contract so I don't have to pay $700 for a new iPhone 5.

3.An app that tells iPhone shouters: "Shhh! You don't have to yell to be heard."

4.An app that shrinks fat typing fingers.

5.An app reminding iPhone addicts, "You don't have to check the phone every two seconds."

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: If not John Kogut, John Restivo and Dennis Halstead, who did kill 16-year-old Theresa Fusco in 1984? Now there's the real the $190 million question . . . Land in South Setauket for $100? That is the opening bid on two Mark Tree Road parcels being auctioned Oct. 23 by the Suffolk Real Property Division . . . You still doubt that creative folks in the Hamptons have time on their hands and money to burn? There are nine -- count 'em nine -- local films in this year's Hamptons International Film Fest . . . Do North Fork bar owners have a point when they complain that too many drunk-driving checkpoints are at night? What about all the midday vineyard-tour guzzlers? . . . Can't LI billionaires score higher than this? East Setauket hedge funder and former Stony Brook math prof Jim Simons (net worth $11 billion) got us only to 28th on the new Forbes richest-Americans list . . . iPhone obsessives hate the iPhone 5 map app? Who are they kidding? What do they need a map for, anyway? They're on their couches all weekend, transfixed by their shiny new 5s.

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THE NEWS IN SONG: "There's a rumbling/There's a crack in the street": PJ Harvey's "Losing Ground,"

tinyurl.com/pjlost

LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK: BARBARA and JIM CROMARTY

What could be less green than auto racing, with its roaring engines and high-octane fumes? But Riverhead Raceway owners Barbara and Jim Cromarty are making nice with the LI enviro-set. On Friday, the first couple of LI racing are planting 100 trees at the Town of Riverhead Animal Shelter. It's the local payback from NASCAR's Green Clean Air Program, which vowed 10 trees for each green starting flag on certain designated races -- 100 percent, the Cromartys say, of the carbon produced by the on-track racing. Now there's a checkered flag for some dogs and cats. Boogity, boogity, boogity, let's go planting!

Email ellis@henican.com

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