Mitt Romney’s campaign has been on the defensive for the past week over his private sector career at Bain Capital and his unwillingness to release more tax returns, and on Monday the candidate himself tried to push back, saying he’s doing more than is necessary in terms of disclosure.
“John McCain ran for president and released two years of tax returns,” Romney said on Fox and Friends on Monday. “And John Kerry who ran for president – you know, his wife who has hundreds of millions of dollars – she never released her tax returns.” In 2004, Teresa Heinz Kerry released a portion of her 2003 federal tax returns.
Romney called the Obama campaign's attacks on his record at Bain as "misdirected," saying "A campaign based on falsehood and dishonesty does not have long legs."
He added: “The Obama people keep wanting more and more and more. More things to pick through. More things for their opposition research to try to make a mountain out of, and to distort, and to be dishonest about.”
Romney reiterated his pledge to release two full years of tax returns. He has released 2010 and 2011 is pending.
Romney’s appearance came after a weekend of push-back by his campaign on his time at Bain. On Sunday, a top adviser for the campaign, Ed Gillespie, said that Romney was not responsible for what happened at Bain after February 1999 because he “retired retroactively” from the firm. On Friday, Romney sat down with five television networks and demanded an apology from Obama for the Bain attacks.
Obama brushed off Romney’s demand on Sunday: "No, we won't be apologizing," the president said in an interview with Virginia station WAVY. "Mr. Romney claims that he's Mr. Fix-it for the economy because of his business experience. And so I think voters entirely legitimately want to know, well what exactly was that business experience?"
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former chief of staff for Obama, said on Sunday, “stop whining.”
"If you want to claim Bain Capital as your calling card to the White House, then defend what happened at Bain Capital," he said.
Romney responded to Emanuel in his Fox interview on Monday, saying “When people accuse you of a crime you have every reason to go after them pretty hard.”
Also on Monday, the Obama campaign kept the heat on Romney, as the campaign shot out a “memorandum” with eight “unanswered” questions for Romney. The memo even goes a little Bill Clinton-retro with this question: “You have stated that in ‘Feb. 1999 I left Bain capital and all management responsibility’ and ‘I had no ongoing activity or involvement.’ It depends on what the definition of “involvement” is, doesn’t it?”
The memo goes on to ask whether “involvement” means “full-time, active, 60-hours-a-week, hands-on manager?”