Mitt Romney Caves on His Taxes

| Tue Jan. 17, 2012 2:59 PM EST

Mitt Romney has decided to cave in on his taxes:

Bowing to pressure from his Republican rivals as well as the Democrats, Mitt Romney told reporters here Tuesday that he plans to release his federal income tax returns this spring and estimated his rate at about 15 percent.

“What’s the effective rate I’ve been paying? It’s probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything,” Romney, a GOP presidential candidate, said. “My last 10 years, I’ve — my income comes overwhelmingly from investments made in the past rather than ordinary income or rather than earned annual income. I got a little bit of income from my book, but I gave that all away. And then I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much.”

Did Romney really make up his mind on this literally overnight? Because in last night's debate he sure didn't sound very certain that he was going to do this. This is, perhaps, the only time that Romney has panicked during the campaign. If he'd made up his mind a little earlier and a little more deliberately, he could have had a much smoother answer last night. "I do plan to release my tax return for the previous year, as other presidential candidates have done, and my accountants tell me it will be ready to file in late March or April. As soon as it's complete, I'll make copies available to the press."

Instead we got last night's Palinesque gobbledygook. Very weird. Greg Sargent takes a crack here at figuring out what this all means for Romney's chances in November.