A major reason Mitt Romney is refusing to reveal more than two years of his tax returns is because he does not want the world to know just how much he gives to the Mormon church.
Romney and his wife Ann discussed tax returns and a range of other topics in an interview with Sunday's Parade Magazine
. He was asked how “tithing,” the Mormon practice of giving 10 percent of one's income to the church, shaped his view of people treat each other.
"Our church doesn't publish how much people have given," Romney said. "This is done entirely privately. One of the downsides of releasing one's financial information is that this is now all public.
"But we had never intended our contributions to be known," he said. "It's a very personal thing between ourselves and our commitment to our God and to our church."
Interviewer Lynn Sherr asked if tithing, or helping the community, could be considered a form of socialism.
Romney responded, “From the very beginning, the willingness of neighbors to help raise the barn of a next-door neighbor was characteristic of America. But at the same time we take personal responsibility for our lives.
"Does government play a role? Absolutely," he added. "I chuckle when I hear people say, 'Oh, they don't want any government.' Of course we want government! But it is government to encourage the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of its citizens, as opposed to direct the course of their living.”
When asked if he cries, the former Massachusetts governor made a reference to House Speaker John Boehner’s penchant for tears. “I'm emotional,” he said. “I don't show it quite as clearly as John Boehner, but I'm an emotional person. There is a, I don't know, a societal norm that if you're running for office, you can't be emotional, and perhaps I bow to that too often.”
When asked how a Romney presidency would help the life of a stay-at-home mother of two, Romney said, “One, you'll be able to see better jobs with rising income again. And you'll know that when your kids go to school, it's a school of your choice, not the government's. And you'll know that when your kids come out of school, there will be a good job waiting for them.”
Romney told Parade he thinks the Republican Party is united heading into its convention.
“We're united now. You go and ask people who voted for John McCain: 'Are you thinking of voting for anyone other than Mitt Romney?' And you will have a very hard time finding someone who's thinking of voting in a different direction. ... We go to the convention with high hopes. There's a lot of enthusiasm for new leadership.”
On the lighter side, he was asked what the feel of the White House would be if he was elected.
Romney said he would “like it to be open and have people feel welcome there. I don't just mean touring it, but also come to the East Room and see a performance of some kind.”
Asked for examples, he said, “Well, I would certainly want to hear from the Beach Boys, even though I know it's not the same group it used to be. Also Garth Brooks and Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith, and today's rock stars —The Killers are one group I enjoy.”
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