Romney stands his ground on tax returns

9:57 AM, Jul 16, 2012   |    comments
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(CBS News) -- Mitt Romney is not budging an inch when it comes to his personal taxes. Despite repeated calls by Democrats and, over the weekend, by some of his fellow Republicans to release more tax returns, Romney says two years worth of returns is enough.

"The Obama people keep on wanting more and more and more: More things to pick through, more things for their opposition research to try to take a mountain out of and to distort and to be dishonest about," Romney said Monday on Fox News Channel.

Romney pointed to the 2010 tax returns he already released and the 2011 returns he says we will once they are complete. "It's hundreds of pages of documents, and by the way, none of the tax returns are required by law to be put out. What is required by law - the financial disclosure - has already been made."

Romney has been playing defense as the Obama campaign has been on the attack over Romney's personal finances and his tenure at Bain Capital.

And the Obama campaign has made no indication they plan to back down. Rather, President Obama called on Romney to be more transparent.

"Harry Truman said 'the buck stops with me' and I think understandably people are going to be interested in are you in fact responsible for this company you say is one of your primary calling cards for your wanting to be president," Mr. Obama said in an interview with Virginia television station WAVY released on Sunday.

"If Romney followed decades of precedent set in motion by his father, who released 12 years of tax returns, as well as the minutes from Bain Capital board meetings, the American people could finally learn to what extent Mitt Romney was involved with the actions at Bain Capital following 1999," campaign spokesperson Ben LaBolt released in a memo to reporters.

Although the Obama campaign is using Romney's father, a 1968 presidential candidate, as precedent, Romney points to more recent politicians.

"You know, John McCain ran for president and released two years of tax returns. John Kerry ran for president. You know, his wife who has hundreds of millions of dollars, she never released her tax returns. Somehow this wasn't an issue," he said on Fox & Friends.

But even some Republicans are calling on Romney to release his taxes, endure possible backlash now - four months before the election - and take the argument away from the Obama camp.

"The cost of not releasing the returns are clear," conservative columnist George Will said on ABC's "This Week." "Therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them."

"He's done nothing illegal, nothing unseemly, nothing improper, but lots that's impolitic," Will added. "And he's now in the politics business."

Will joins more than a handful of other Republicans calling for Romney to release his taxes, including commentator Bill Kristol and Alabama governor Robert Bentley and former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour.

Although their message has been muffled by the Obama campaign's attacks, the Romney campaign is attempting to change the tenor of the debate. For the second day in a row, the campaign is attempting to highlight cronyism within the Obama administration. The Romney campaign resurfaces the argument over Solyndra, the bankrupt green energy company that received $500 million worth of taxpayer-backed loan guarantees.

"When billions upon billions of dollars are given by the Obama administration to the businesses of campaign contributors, that's a real problem, particularly at a time when the middle class is really suffering in this country," Romney said on Fox News. "I think it's wrong. I think it stinks to high heaven."

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