Robert Novak looks at Mrs. Kerry’s taxes:

Sen. John Kerry, having escaped intact a one-hour grilling by NBC’s Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” Sunday, slipped in the closing minutes. When asked why his multi-millionaire wife was not making public her tax returns, he misinterpreted the law and the facts. He can only hope voters regard this as arcane trivia.

Three days before her husband’s first full-length televised interview since he clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, Teresa Heinz Kerry became the first would-be first lady to refuse disclosure since the practice became common. Kerry told Russert the law required him but not his wife to reveal tax returns, when in fact there is no such law. He is voluntarily disclosing the information, and Mrs. Kerry is not.

This becomes politically critical, because no previous presidential candidate relied so much on his spouse’s wealth. Without backing from Heinz ketchup money, it is fair to say John Kerry would not be his party’s presidential standard-bearer and probably would not even be a U.S. senator today. Thus, refusal to release his wife’s tax returns inevitably raises suspicions, however ill-founded, that the Kerrys have something to hide.