Chicago Finesse

7:15 am ET

The “letter” from Obama campaign manager Jim Messina to his Romney counterpart Matt Rhoades calling on the Republican candidate to release a total of five years of tax returns in exchange for the Democrats dropping demands for additional years going back farther is sort of genius.

As we’ve seen from the last fifteen hours of news coverage, much of the media continues to be obsessed with the tax return story, so it doesn’t take much to drive the news cycle with it.

It is hard to imagine one missive changing Ann’s and Mitt Romney’s minds on releasing more returns. But Chicago has bid to keep the story going on its favorite themes (their opponent is rich, secretive, and not an America-firster) while, by design, appearing to look “reasonable.”

Many more political pros now think Romney won’t give in than just a few weeks ago. But the Obama campaign doesn’t care. It is fine with either outcome — Romney dug in or getting more returns to pick over.

UPDATE: Matt Rhoades writes an equally crafty letter back to Messina. Don’t look for more tax returns beyond 2011 any time soon.

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