Greer, South Carolina (CNN) – Mitt Romney has paid no less than 13% in personal income taxes over the past ten years, he said Thursday.
The presumptive GOP nominee has faced withering criticism from Democrats over the release of his tax returns, including a charge by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid that Romney had paid no taxes for a ten year period. Reid did not specify if those were the last ten years, or an earlier period.
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Romney expressed frustration with Reid's attack at a press conference with reporters in South Carolina.
"I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past ten years I never paid less than 13%. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. I paid taxes every single year," Romney said, explaining he had gone back to check his records after being asked by a reporter about the tax rates he had paid. "Harry Reid's charge is totally false. I am sure waiting for Harry to put up who it was that told him what he says they told him – I don't believe it for a minute by the way – but every year I paid at least 13% and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why, the number gets well above 20%."
Reid had told reporters an anonymous source gave him a tip. A source close to Reid later said that Reid got the information from an investor with Bain, the private equity firm Romney ran.
A spokesman for Reid, Adam Jentleson, said in a statement Thursday after Romney's press conference, "We'll believe it when we see it. Until Mitt Romney releases his tax returns, Americans will continue to wonder what he's hiding. Romney seems to think he plays by a different set of rules than every other presidential candidate for the last thirty years, all of whom lived up to the standard of transparency set by Mitt Romney's father and released their tax returns."
Romney has released his 2010 tax returns and an estimate of his 2011 tax returns when he filed for an extension, but has declined to make available any earlier returns.
On Thursday he called insistent questions over his tax documents "small-minded compared to the broad issues that we face" such as unemployment and the nuclear threat from Iran.
President Barack Obama's campaign quickly dismissed Romney's tax revelation in a statement.
"Mitt Romney today said that he did indeed 'go back and look' at his tax returns and that he never paid less than 13% in taxes in any year over the past decade. Since there is substantial reason to doubt his claims, we have a simple message for him: prove it," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith wrote. "Even though he's invested millions in foreign tax havens, offshore shell corporations, and a Swiss bank account, he's still asking the American people to trust him. However, given Mitt Romney's secrecy about his returns, coupled with the revelations in just the one return we have seen to date and the inconsistencies between this one return and his other financial disclosures, he has forfeited the right to have us take him just at his word."
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"Since there is substantial reason to doubt his claims, we have a simple message for him: prove it," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith wrote."
Uh huh. An anonymous tipster who only spoke to the opposition party during an election year is a "substantial reason to doubt his claims"
Fifteen percent?? On a guy worth hundreds of millions??
And we paid around 25 percent, making a fraction of that?
Something's wrong with this picture.
And we are supposed to take him at his word.......why?
Remember, this was the same man who, when running for the Senate, ***demanded*** that his opponent release his tax records because "the public has a right to know".
Well, what happened to that right, Mitt? Now that the shoe is on the other foot, you don't feel people have that right anymore?
Interesting hypocrisy. Makes me wonder what else you claim to believe in now that you won't believe in next year.
Not a very attractive quality in a Presidential candidate.
Mitt. Not. good. enough. Your 2010 returns were not correct, we haven't even seen 2011 yet, and back when running for Mass. governor you had to go back and "correct" your residence from Utah to Mass in order to qualify to run. Seriously? You want us to believe you now? Just show the returns if there is nothing to hide – like your Dad did. Even if he paid 13%, how's that compare to you? We paid more than double that. Under the Ryan budget plan, Mitt would be paying nothing – legally. This is the 1% running the table and leaving the middle class and poor to pay the bills. Disgusting.
I can top that...and my husband is on permanent disability & I am retiring tomorrow. We are praying for Medicare, and that SSI and Social Security don't disappear. Jerk.
He shoulda paid MORE. But all of that OFFSHORE money is hidden for good.
He's a criminal; that's for sure....
"You can believe me. I mean, I'm an honorable man. A Quaker. I'd never lie!"
(Richard Nixon, 1973)
I'm sure Romney has been paying his taxes. What I'm not sure about is the Ryan plan which plans to give the wealthy [like Romney] more tax breaks and tax the middle class more. The middle class is the class that we should worry about. If Romney lived in the UK he'd be paying alot more taxes.
Democrats waste time on small issue....the right demands Pres. Obama release everything from birth records (which he as, several times) to blood type. Republicans keep voting in millionaire busnessmen who have a personal, financial agenda, as well as the agendas of their fellow 'good' people. Thus leaving the middle class to suffer with outsourcing of their jobs, offshoring corporations to avoid taxes..MITT, you may have (riiiiiggghhht) paid 13% on net income, but the question is..how much was your net, filed income after declaring losses, overseas transactions and all the lovely deductions the GOP have voted in for the richest individuals and corporations? 13% of a $1.98 isn't helping.
"I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. I paid taxes every single year,"
Obviously this man is not qualified to be president, if he can't remember a single number correctly, that he is putting forward as an answer to shut everyone up. Sounds like BS to me, or, as they say, MUS...
He meant in total. He is severely serious.
As if Romney has any real ideas about the "broad issues"! HIs plan for reducing deficit is empty. Maybe he paid 14% on income not accruing in offshore accounts.
13% is very very low, is it not? So everyone else has to pay upwards of 30% and he gets to pay 17% less than the rest of the country? I hate rich people and their loopholes. Close them all. This guy should be in jail. Wonder what Obama was paying? I wouldn't doubt he's doing the same thing. And these are the guys we want in charge?
I pay 21% on every dollar I make, I can't hide income overseas, I don't write off dinner with my wife...... Welcome to Romney's America.....
Why is this story any more of a time-wasting ridiculous joke than Obama's birth certificate??
How can the right demand to see President Obama's proof of citizenship and he provide over and over again...yet a request from Democrats to see a presidential candidate's tax returns gets constantly denied. This just blows me away. If you have nothing to hide, why not just release them?
If you wish to lobby to have Romney pay more Taxes, then you are in fact lobbying to have the Capital Gains Tax Rate raised.
Hope you don't own Stock or Mutual Funds.
Ok, so I already said this – prove it!
Trust me I paid 13%. Show the taxes loser.
Everytime I see that clueless Rmoney, I want to throw up.
Adam, you add nothing to the public debate but nonsense.
Don't buy it for a second. If what he says is true, he would have released his tax returns to prove it.
13% is very very low, is it not? So everyone else has to pay upwards of 30% and he gets to pay 17% less than the rest of the country?
Romney makes millions and pays 13%? I make 50,000 and pay 18%. He's bought and paid for special tax laws while I'm picking over $5 jars of mayonnaise. I don't feel a damn bit sorry for his filthy, poor-mouthing, whining, rich, spoiled, rotten, greedy republican under-paying, and 'self-privileged' rear end.