Today is the day the tax man cometh for Mitt Romney. The President makes his annual State of the Union address at 9pm eastern. As always, tune in to TPM for live coverage. Here are ten things you need to know before then.
- Mitt Romney releases his tax returns today: Romney’s returns show that Romney paid an effective tax rate of 13.9% in 2010. Romney estimates that he will pay a total of $6.2 million in federal taxes on $42.5 million in income over the years 2010 and 2011. In 2011, Romney expects that rate will be 15.4%.
- Romney campaign spins tax returns to the press: At 8:30am, the Romney campaign will host a conference call with reporters to discuss the candidate’s tax returns. On the call will be Brad Malt, who oversees Romney’s blind trust, as well as a lawyer from the firm Patton Boggs and a member of Romney’s policy and communications teams.
- Gingrich releases his contract with Freddie Mac: Newt Gingrich finally decided that his history as a “historian” for Freddie Mac has weighed him down long enough. Just as Monday night’s debate got underway, the Gingrich Group, the consulting firm started by Newt, released the contract. A statement from the Gingrich Group says: “As noted under the scope of work section on Page 14, the contract was solely for consulting purposes and not lobbying.”
- Fred Thompson endorses Gingrich: Former Senator and presidential candidate Fred Thompson endorsed Newt Gingrich on Hannity Monday night, saying “I have come to the growing realization that Newt Gingrich is the guy who can articulate what America is all about.”
- Another $5 million coming to Newt’s aid: Newt Gingrich’s wealthy benefactor, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, will donate $5 million to Winning Our Future, the pro-Gingrich super PAC. Adelson gave $5 million to WOF during the South Carolina primary as well. The money will allow Gingrich to rival Romney on the airwaves going into the final week before the primary.
- Romney will give State of the Union prebuttal: In anticipation of the State of the Union Tuesday night, Mitt Romney will deliver a prebuttal to President Obama’s address at 10:30am in Tampa, Florida. Since Gingrich has become a threat to Romney, he has had less time to attack President Obama.
- Housing continues to be an issue, Romney moderates stance: In NBC’s debate Monday night, housing and the mortgage crisis continued to be an issue. Romney tried to qualify previous comments saying, “Help them? Of course we help them.” On Tuesday afternoon, Romney will hold a housing event in Lehigh Acres, Florida.
- Univision presidential forum scheduled for Wednesday: Romney, Gingrich, and Rick Santorum will partake in a “Meet the Candidates” forum hosted by Univision News and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Unlike the first three primary contests, Latino voters will play an important role in picking the winner in Florida.
- Democrats are loving the GOP debates: Democrats are enjoying the GOP primary debates because the candidates are attacking each other and hurting their own favorability in the process. At least, that’s what Florida Democratic Party Chair Rod Smith said in a statement: “This isn’t a race to the White House, it’s a race to the right. Democrats should consider sponsoring debates because the more voters learn about Mitt Romney and the GOP, the less they like them. This field has made clear they want to continue with giveaways to millionaires and billionaires at the expense of Florida’s middle class families. Moreover, I agree with both Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney; neither deserve to be President.”
- Obama to use SOTU to frame 2012 election: Tuesday night President Obama will deliver the State of the Union address, giving him the opportunity to frame the election and key issues before a national audience — and he’s going to take it.
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.