March 2, 2008— -- Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., is poised to release her tax returns "on or around April 15," Clinton's communications director Howard Wolfson said in an exclusive "This Week" debate Sunday morning with David Axelrod, senior campaign adviser to her opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
When pressed by Axelrod as to why "Clinton continues to refuse to release her tax returns, as all the other candidates have," Wolfson asserted that "the tax returns are going to be released around tax time."
The two top strategists went on to spar over the release of Clinton's White House records. Axelrod charged that Clinton "refuses to release the documents from the Clinton Library related to her time in the White House, which is the fulcrum of her argument on experience."
Wolfson, however, asserted the issue was moot.
"Clinton's schedule as first lady were given over to the president's representatives for review. That review has been completed. We've given the records back over to the archives. They are now back in the archives' hands. Our say in the process is over, and I assume that they will be releasing them very expeditiously," he said.
Wolfson also challenged the Obama campaign to come clean about the Senator's relationship with campaign contributor Tony Rezko, who is set to go on trial Monday for corruption charges. "I can't imagine he's going to answer them, but I wish that he would, and I think Democrats hope that he will For instance, how many fundraisers did Mr. Rezko throw for Senator Obama? What did Senator Obama do for Mr. Rezko? Did he write letters for him? What projects of his did he support? How many business meetings did he attend where Mr. Rezko had business associates there? What are the -- one more important one -- what are the full details of this very unusual real estate transaction that Mr. Rezko and Mr. Obama entered into?" Wolfson asked.
Axelrod defended his candidate, saying the Obama campaign has been "forthcoming" about the Senator's relationship with Rezko. "There have been 255 stories done on this issue, many by the Chicago media, others by the national media. All these questions have been asked. All these questions have been answered," Axelrod said. "As the Associated Press said in their summation of this thing, there has been not one bit of evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Sen. Obama in this or any other matter. And Howard knows that."
On the issue of experience, Axelrod and Wolfson responded to the recent ad war over which candidate is better prepared to face foreign policy challenges on day one.
"On the most important question that Sen. Clinton has had to deal with in foreign policy, the red phone moment for her, the vote on the war in Iraq, she gave the wrong answer," Axelrod said. Wolfson responded that voters should consider a candidate's full record. "You look at what the person has, a lifetime of experience and judgment that they bring to the job," he said.
Looking ahead to the four primaries this Tuesday, both advisers were optimistic. Said Wolfson: "About two percent separates the two candidates in delegates. Two percent is a very close number, considering how many delegates have voted, how many Americans have voted ... We're going to have a great day on Tuesday. We're going to win this nomination. This nomination fight is going to go forward after Ohio and Texas."
Axelrod agreed that the race remains close. "It's very, very likely that we're going to end up in exactly the same position after Tuesday that we are now, with fewer primaries left," he said.