President Obama launched a long defense of his campaign’s demand that Mitt Romney release more tax returns.
“When it comes to releasing taxes, that’s a precedent that was set decades ago, including by Gov. Romney’s father,” Obama said. “And for us to say that it makes sense to release your tax returns as I did, as John McCain did, as Bill Clinton did, as the two President Bushes did, I don’t think is any way out of bounds … particularly when we’re going to be having a huge debate over how we reform our tax code and how we pay for the government that we need. I think people want to know that everybody’s been playing by the same rules, including people that are seeking the highest office in the land. This is not an entitlement, being president of the United States, this is a privilege.”McCain released only two years of tax returns in 2008, but major party nominees have traditionally released more.
Obama also argued that his focus on Romney’s taxes was a political attack, not a personal one: “This isn’t overly personal, guys. This is pretty standard stuff. We’re not being mean.”