(CNN) – Republican Sen. John McCain said Tuesday that Mitt Romney's tax returns in the 2008 vice presidential vetting process did not factor into the senator's decision to pick Sarah Palin instead.
Romney, who had ended his own presidential campaign in the 2008 GOP primary, reportedly provided McCain's team with more than 20 years of tax returns, significantly more than the amount of information Romney has made public this time around.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
Democrats, in their full-court press urging Romney to release more tax returns, now ask why Romney was willing to give so many documents to McCain, but won't do the same publicly this year. Some have questioned whether McCain saw something in Romney's tax information four years ago that discouraged him from picking Romney as his running mate.
"Of course not," McCain told Politico on Tuesday. "I don't know what depths these people won't reach. Obviously, it's just outrageous. That's just outrageous. It shows the – it's so disgraceful for them to allege something that they have absolutely no knowledge of."
McCain maintained his campaign selected Palin, who was a first-term governor of Alaska at the time, "because we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate."
He continued: "Why did we not take [Tim] Pawlenty, why did we not take any of the other 10 other people. Why didn't I? Because we had a better candidate, the same way with all the others. ... Come on, why? That's a stupid question."
Romney has released his 2010 tax returns and an estimate for 2011, with a promise to release the official documents for last year once they're ready. He filed an extension with the Internal Revenue Service, meaning he may not put out his returns until the October filing deadline.
McCain has consistently stood by his pick in Palin, saying she was the most qualified person and most capable of energizing the Republican Party.
"I admire and respect her and I'm proud of our campaign," McCain said on Fox News in March, answering questions about a recent HBO film about the McCain-Palin ticket. "I'm grateful she ran with me."
McCain, who endorsed Romney this cycle one day after the Iowa caucuses, took issue with reports of his comments on Tuesday.
"Some in the media have chosen to take my answer today, in response to the question of why I did not select Governor Romney as my vice presidential nominee, out of context. I selected Sarah Palin because she was the best fit for my campaign, and my decision had nothing to do with the bogus tax return attacks currently being waged by the Obama campaign. I have the highest respect for Governor Romney and his record of public service, and he will make an outstanding president," McCain said in a statement.
– CNN's Robert Yoon contributed to this report.
I don't think so.
The office was VICE President. Romney's running for President. Lot of difference.
Entirely untrue. VICE is ONE HEARTBEAT away from the top spot. Anything happens to PREZ, VICE takes over Additionally, VICE was actually running the show during the 2001-2009 reign of error.
I can't hardly wait for the protestations of how that quote will be "taken out of context"! You got some 'splainin' to do Johnny!
Well I think she had better foreign policy credentials and a greater grasp teen pregnancies.
Senile needs to be in Arizona sun room, relax!!!
I hope this becomes an ad for the Obama campaign. LOL
Can't believe McCain still thinks that Palin was a good choice. The man is definitely senile.
All I can think of to say is "HAAAAAHAAAAHAA....really??
McCain's needs a dose of ObamaCare........
Seriously here is someone that can NEVER admit he was wrong!
He's lying. Sarah Palin a better choice than Willard? Yeah right! There's something in those taxes very damming. Show us your papers!!! No Apologies!!
Anybody ... and, I mean anybody, would be a better VP than a BAFOON like Biden ... and, anybody would be a better President than a liar and thief, like Obama. Save America Dump Obama in November !!!
Sarah Palin is a complete idiot and an American embarrassment. she is a joke, a laughing stock. It's entertaining. Sarah Palin is mean spirited and completely phony, a quitter, and an imbicile.
LOL!!!! I have no doubt that is true, but what a sad, sad statement it is about Romney's capabilities. LOL! Oh, Mittens, how disparaging a thing could a fellow Thug say beyond that you are less qualified at ANYTHING than Sarah Palin??? Tsk.
OH MY GAWD!!! What does that tell you about Romney? All you need to know. Dumber than dumb Palin was a better choice to be one step away from the Oval Office than Mitt Romney. Then, I ask, how can John McCain be supporting him? Have all the Rebublicans lost the courage to stand up and say enough is enough. Lay out a full financial disclosure, Romney, or we turn your delegates before the convention and nominate someone else. Maybe they could find someone who actually keeps all their wealth in the US to be lent out to small business owners who have found it hard to come by loans lately.
If IRS has no issues, why should anyone have issues with Gov. Romney's tax returns. What is the deal here? Gov. Romney didn't pay the fair share or the liberal presumed fair share? Not sure what liberals are so salivating about
Time to retire, John, before you lose all the respect people have had for you over the years.
Of course Palin was the better choice......you betcha.....she had better legs than Romney.
Every time Romney opens his mouth it becomes clearer and clearer that ROMNEY IS NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME.
He did not seek re-election in Massachusetts for good reason. This DILETANTTE ROMNEY IS ERRATIC.
Romney is better suited to be LIAR IN CHIEF than Commander in Chief.
They THOUGHT they had the better candidate. They were wrong. Surprised he still defends that decision.
That's a scary thought!!!!
Don`t know that I believe McCain. Let us remember that Senator MCCain suspended his campaign to return to Washington to "deal" with the economic crisis. Sure seems like Mitt would have been a BETTER pick to give McCain CREDIBILITY on the economy in 2008.
Given this, only if his taxes reveal a MAJOR public relations problem would Sarah have been "better". McCains comments only add fuel to the fire.
Howard said: Anybody ... and, I mean anybody, would be a better VP than a BAFOON like Biden
Howie, if you're going to put a word in screaming all-caps, you should at least spell the word correctly: You BUFFOON!
Seriously! Why anyone would listen to Senator McCain anymore is beyond me. His judgment is seriously lacking since he still believes that shrill woman was a good choice for vice president.
OBAMA/BIDEN/FIRST LADY MICHELLE 2012!!!