President Obama is personally calling on Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns.
In an interview tonight with Manchester, N.H., ABC affiliate WMUR, Obama stressed the need for transparency when asked whether Romney’s offshore finances, including a Swiss bank account, disqualified him for office or made him unpatriotic.
“What’s important is if you are running for president is that the American people know who you are and what you’ve done and that you’re an open book. And that’s been true of every presidential candidate dating all the way back to Mitt Romney’s father,” Obama told reporter Josh McElveen.
George Romney released 12 years worth of tax returns. President Obama also released that many as a candidate in 2008 and has each year since. Mitt Romney in January released one year of returns — 2010 — following immense pressure from his GOP primary rivals and Democrats.
“Obviously there are unpleasant aspects of being poked and probed, and I understand that,” Obama said. “But it’s important for you to say here’s who I am, and here’s how I’ve done.”
The comments, coming as part of a week-long campaign by Democrats attacking Romney’s foreign investments, are not Obama’s first to directly pressure Romney to reveal more details of his finances.
In an April interview with Univision, Obama said Romney should “absolutely” release additional returns.
“I think that it’s important for any candidate in public office to be as transparent as possible, to let people know who we are, what we stand for, and you know, I think that this is just carrying on a tradition that has existed throughout the modern presidency,” Obama said at the time.
In an interview with Radio Iowa tonight, Romney claimed ignorance of his exact foreign investments but insisted his financial managers adhere to all applicable laws.
“I don’t manage them. I don’t even know where they are,” Romney said of his portfolio of overseas investments. “That trustee follows all U.S. laws. All the taxes are paid, as appropriate. All of them have been reported to the government. There’s nothing hidden there. If, for instance, you own shares in Renault or Fiat, you still have to disclose that in the United States.
“So, you know, I understand the president’s going to try to do anything he can to divert attention from the fact that his jobs record is weak and he has no plan to make things better,” Romney added.