Spin Cycle

07.15.12

Norah O'Donnell: Romney Must Respond

CBS correspondent on the campaign--and cooking.

Norah O’Donnell has little patience for the argument that Mitt Romney is being railroaded over his personal finances.

“You want to be president of the United States, you have to answer questions, you’ve got to give full disclosure, and there’s some question about how much disclosure Mitt Romney has made,” CBS News' chief White House correspondent told me in a video interview.

We were chatting about the avalanche of stories and Obama campaign attacks on Romney’s tax returns, tenure at Bain Capital and offshore bank accounts. Maybe some of the rhetoric, such as suggesting he committed a felony, went too far, O’Donnell said.

But in political terms, “it has put Mitt Romney on the defensive and we know that in campaigns, whenever you’re setting the debate, you’re winning that week,” she said.

Video screenshot

The bottom line, in O’Donnell’s view, is that Romney has released only one year’s worth of tax returns, and “that’s not just a Democratic talking point.” No other presidential nominee has made such a limited disclosure, she says, since Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Since she joined CBS a year ago from MSNBC, I asked her if she missed the constant exposure of cable. “Sometimes I miss being on the air that much when there’s a big breaking news story,” O’Donnell said. But now, she said, there is Twitter.

She has three kids and wrote a cookbook—with her husband, who owns Chef Geoff and other D.C. restaurants--on baby food. But how often does she actually cook? “Very rarely,” O’Donnell admits.