By David Shuster / current.com / @DavidShuster
In their first interview together, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan gave CBS News a segment that could have re-aired on "The 700 Club."
When Ryan and Romney spoke, they used more messianic buzzwords and phrases in ten minutes than evangelical preachers sometimes deliver in an hour. Ryan told interviewer Bob Schieffer that he wants "to help get people back on the path in life." When asked about the impact of this race on his family, he said, "We've dedicated much of our lives to saving this country." A few seconds later, Ryan described his career path and said, "I felt a calling to public service."
For his part, Romney noted that many politicians come to Washington for "personal ambition," but that "Paul had a very different course laid out for his life."
Romney said that as vice president, Ryan would have a role in helping "shepherd" legislation on the Hill.
Our nation doesn't need to be "saved." And we don't need "shepherds." We just need an honest discussion about the policy choices we face and a transparent look at those who seek to lead us.
To that end, Bob Schieffer brought up the issue of Mitt Romney's unreleased tax returns by asking Ryan, "How many years of tax returns did you turn over to the campaign?"
Ryan replied, "It was a very exhaustive vetting process, so there were several years." Then Ryan added, "But I'm going to release the same amount of years that Governor Romney has." Schieffer asked, "How many was that?" Ryan said, "He's — two. He's — I'm going to be releasing two, which is what he's releasing." In fact, Romney has only released one year so far — 2010. And that set was incomplete because it was missing a key document related to his Swiss bank account.
As for the 2011 returns, the Romney campaign has yet to release those. Ryan, of course, didn't address the point of the question. The Romney campaign, as part of its vetting process for the vice presidential nomination, asked for and received "several years" of IRS returns from Paul Ryan. Yet Mitt Romney is unwilling to provide the same transparency and consideration to voters who are conducting the most important vetting and interview process in our nation.
I have a feeling that Paul Ryan will be asked about the irony more pointedly in the days ahead.
In the meantime, the Romney-Ryan media rollout has begun. Marlin Perkins and Jerry Falwell — rest in peace.
Watch Jennifer Granholm predict last week
that Romney would choose Paul Ryan
as his running mate.