Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally at Ross County Courthouse in… (Justin Sullivan / Getty…)
GREER, S.C. – Under fire from Democrats for refusing to release more than two years of tax returns, Mitt Romney said Thursday that he had paid federal income taxes at a rate of at least 13% for each of the last 10 years.
President Obama’s Republican challenger told ABC last month that he was happy to check whether he had ever paid less than the 13.9% he paid in 2010. But since then, his campaign has refused to answer the question.
At a news conference on Thursday, Romney was asked again.
“I just have to say, given the challenges that America faces – 23 million people out of work, Iran about to become nuclear, one out of six Americans in poverty – the fascination with taxes I paid I find to be very small-minded,” Romney responded at an airport outside Greenville, S.C., where he was raising campaign money.
Romney said that following the ABC interview, he went back and checked what tax rates he had paid.
“Over the past 10 years, I never paid less than 13%,” he said. “I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that.”
He added: “And if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why the number gets well above 20%.”
In presidential battleground states, President Obama’s reelection campaign has been airing ads questioning whether Romney had paid his fair share of income taxes and highlighting his refusal to release income tax returns for years prior to 2010.
In an interview to be broadcast Thursday on NBC’s “Rock Center,” the candidate’s wife, Ann Romney, declared: “There's going to be no more tax releases given.” Any further disclosures, she said, would only give ammunition to Romney’s opponents.
Nonetheless, the Obama campaign called Wednesday for more, saying the public should not take Romney at his word on his tax rates prior to 2010.
“Since there is substantial reason to doubt his claims, we have a simple message for him: Prove it,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said. “Even though he’s invested millions in foreign tax havens, offshore shell corporations and a Swiss bank account, he’s still asking the American people to trust him.”
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