The fallout from Republican Mitt Romney’s comments about the 47 percent of Americans who paid no federal income tax boiled over Friday when the campaign announced Romney could not continue because of his inability to support himself.
The more familiar requirements laid out in the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section II, demand that a person be a natural-born U.S. citizen and 35 years of age. In addition, there is a clause stating that a candidate for the office be “fully able to vote for themselves in good conscience.” It’s never been an issue in an election and most Americans have never heard of the provision.
After it was reported that at least 4,000 millionaires didn’t pay any income tax and were therefore freeloaders leeching off the system and the hard work of the Romney supporters, investigative reporters began connecting the dots. Francine Nikkels was the reporter who located Romney’s tax returns in a secret vault and made public the fact that Romney himself paid no income tax three years running.
“According to Romney’s own calculations, he could not vote for himself,” Nikkels reported. “Mitt joins his father who was on welfare and 4,000 millionaires who, along with those who work but don’t make enough money to pay income tax, are unqualified to support him. Even worse, Romney and most of the millionaires not paying income tax didn’t pay any payroll taxes, which those who work for a living did.”
Nikkels thought she was reporting a good story with strong implications as to the quality of candidate Romney is. She had no idea that her information would lead to the Republican candidate being forced from the race. When another video surfaced showing Romney acknowledging he couldn’t vote for himself, the ball started rolling that would steamroll his campaign in just one day.
“My friends, I know many of us in this room, if we use the logic of those who don’t pay income tax not voting for me, would ourselves be disqualified. I couldn’t vote for myself,” Romney quipped. “Of course, we aren’t those people – you know who I’m talking about.”
Presidential historian Max Furlough brought Romney’s quandary to light in a press conference only a few reporters attended. After he was finished, the story went viral. At first, Romney tried to move away from his comments. After Furlough obtained legal counsel and announced he would challenge Romney’s interpretation of the Constitution in court, Romney backed down and was forced to concede.
Devastated after realizing his seven-plus years of running for president would end in disgrace, Romney’s only comment was “you all should have went with the pizza guy.”