'This Week' Transcript: Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Sen. Kelly Ayotte

STEPHANOPOULOS: The campaign has also been pushing very hard for Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns. He says the public has everything they need to know to understand his finances. And we do know that Mitt Romney made a lot of money. We know he paid a relatively low tax rate. What more will the returns tell us that we don't know?

EMANUEL: George, just two points here that I think are really important. First of all, Mitt Romney's own father said you shouldn't release one year. And already he has released -- in my view, he's released one year. Let's take a step on two points...

STEPHANOPOULOS: He says he's going to release his second.

EMANUEL: ... one on -- OK, transparency and what that says. He has released only one year. To the McCain campaign, he released 23 years. And he's telling the American people, I'm not going to give you what I've given John McCain's people in 2008. And when he gave them 23 years, John McCain's people looked at it and said, "Let's go with Sarah Palin." So whatever's in there is far worse than just the first year.

You know, the campaign -- the Romney campaign isn't stupid. They have decided it is better to get attacked on lack of transparency, lack of accountability to the American people versus telling you what's in those taxes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what do you think is in there?

EMANUEL: Because they're not enjoying this. And he can clear this up, just make it public.

Now the second thing, George, he did not just relatively -- he paid 14 percent, about half of what a middle-class family pays.

Second is, you've learned in just one year about the Caymans, about the Bahamas, about Luxembourg, and about Switzerland, all where his tax and different accounts are. His tax -- his tax filing looks more like the Olympic Village than it does like a middle-class family.

And then, third, next four years, the president of the United States is going to have tax reform, and you're going to have to debate it with Congress and shape it. And unless you have his taxes -- and I've seen this in the Oval Office, George -- there's going to be times in which a president of the United States has to make tradeoffs and choices. Will it be a middle-class family's desired to save to send their kid to college or protecting the loophole in the Cayman Islands? Will it be a middle-class family's desire to get a tax credit for a child and help raise him in a middle-class family, or will we protect the Bahamas, Luxembourg, and Switzerland?

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, OK, you've made...

EMANUEL: And those are the tradeoffs in -- George, those are the tradeoffs that are going to come from tax reform...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I -- I get that.

EMANUEL: And in one year, you've already learned -- you've already -- no, this is a big decision. He has fully used what is legal in the tax code, and that's the problem with the tax code. And he has paid a rate...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But he's -- he's actually said that...

EMANUEL: ... half of what a middle-class...

STEPHANOPOULOS: He said he's going to talk for tax reform. I want to move on to what he also says. He says you all are pushing this issue to distract from the president's failures on the economy, desperate facts from a president, he says, who can't run on his record. And our polls do show that almost two-thirds of the American public think the country is going in the wrong direction and disapprove of President Obama's job on the economy.

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