(CNN) - Sen. John McCain, whose 2008 presidential campaign reviewed Mitt Romney's tax records as they considered him to be the vice presidential running mate, said Tuesday he can "personally vouch" that there was "nothing disqualifying" in the tax returns of the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.
Asked by CNN if he could vouch for the fact that Romney had paid taxes and didn't hide his money from taxes offshore, as some Democrats have suggested, McCain reacted strongly but didn't directly answer the question.
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"I can personally vouch for the fact that there was nothing in his tax return that would in anyway be disqualifying for him to be a candidate. Okay?" McCain said.
"We're getting into areas now that are improper for me to talk about," McCain added. "Because when people gave us all those records we agreed to confidentiality. The only reason I'm saying what I'm saying now is because of the scurrilous, scurrilous Chicago style sleaze intimations with no basis in fact that there might have been something wrong with his tax returns, which is disgraceful."
Asked again if he knew if Romney had in fact paid taxes over the years, McCain responded, "Oh please. I am not going to get into that kind of conversation. All I can tell you, and I will tell you again, there was nothing disqualifying in his tax returns. And that is a fact."
McCain didn't say how many years of tax records he reviewed.
McCain initially stopped to talk to reporters as he left the Senate floor because he wanted to clarify an earlier news report that suggested McCain picked former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate because she was the better candidate than Romney.
"It wasn't a matter of who had better or worse qualities it was who we felt would help the campaign the most not that anyone who was under consideration didn't have outstanding qualities," he said.
McCain then criticized Politico for "twisting" his words.
"It's really getting a little disgraceful, twisting someone's words when clearly I said and meant she was the best fit for the campaign. Had nothing to do with the qualities of Mitt Romney or any of the other people we were considering," he said.