(CNSNews.com) – Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said demands that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney release additional tax returns beyond the two years of returns he has disclosed is a “side show,” designed to distract from the real issues.
At a Capitol Hill Club press conference in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Boehner said, “The American people are asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ They’re not asking where in the hell the tax returns are.’”
At the press conference of House Republicans, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) also said questions about when the presumptive Republican presidential nominee resigned from his private equity firm Bain Capital and probes into his foreign bank accounts are “merely distractions.”
A reporter asked Ryan, “You talked a lot about transparency and Democrats are calling on Mitt Romney to release his tax returns in the name of transparency. Do you think he should?”
“I’ll refer you to the Romney campaign on those things, we’re here to talk about the sequester,” said Ryan, referring to the automatic defense cuts that will take effect Jan.1, 2013 unless Congress acts.
“The sequester is real,” he said, “and the sequester is putting a chilling effect on hiring.”
“It’s putting a chilling effect on military families,” he said. “I had a doctor at the VA [Veterans Administration] in Walworth County come up to me this weekend saying, ‘Am I going to get laid off in January? What’s happening to my family?’”
“That’s the kind of transparency we’re expecting from our government right now and these side issues are merely distractions from the task at hand, which is the president is not leading and, as a consequence of that, Americans are hurting,” said Ryan.
It was at that point when Speaker of the House Boehner said, “Well, listen, listen. The American people are asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ They’re not asking where in the hell the tax returns are.”
“This is another side show intended to draw the American people’s attention away from the real issue,” said Boehner. “And the real issue is the president’s economic policies have failed, they’ve actually made things worse. And, as a result, he can’t run on his record.”
“He’s got to try to run on something else,” said Boehner. “And so whether it’s the tax returns, whether it’s Bain Capital, you’ll see every distraction known to man because the president can’t run on his record.”
Another reporter again raised the issue, asking, “It’s not just Democrats that are asking, a lot of Republicans are, including members of your conference saying it’s time to get this issue—”
“It is not about the tax returns, it’s about the economy,” Boehner said.
“The American people vote with their wallet. Bye,” he said, ending the press conference.
Many Democrats, including personnel in the Obama campaign, have been pushing Romney to release more tax returns. Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter called for Romney to disclose more returns, saying he has either been misleading the American people or misrepresenting his position at Bain to the Securities and Exchange Commission, "which is a felony," she said.
The Romney campaign attests that it has already gone “above and beyond” the disclosure requirements by releasing his 2010 income tax return and an estimate of his 2011 return (back in January); Romney has promised to release the full return for 2011 soon.
“These returns show that he's paid over $6 million dollars in taxes,” Romney Senior Advisor Kevin Madden told CBS’s Face the Nation.
“Seven million dollars of his income went to charity, which is appropriately 16 percent of his income,” said Madden. “He's also filed hundreds and hundreds of pages of financial disclosures with the FEC.”
During the 2008 presidential race, Republican John McCain (Ariz.), running against Obama, released only two years of tax returns.