S.C. Rep. Trey Gowdy defends Romney after tax questions arise
January 20th, 2012
06:43 PM ET
11 years ago

S.C. Rep. Trey Gowdy defends Romney after tax questions arise

Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) - South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy defended Mitt Romney on Friday after Newt Gingrich tried to make an issue of his tax returns in the previous night’s Republican presidential debate.

Gowdy, a member of the state’s tightly-knit freshman class of House Republicans, is neutral in the presidential race.

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But like the attacks on Romney’s record at the private equity firm Bain Capital, Gowdy said questions about the former Massachusetts governor’s tax returns run against the party’s free enterprise ideals.

“I listen to Gov. Romney have to apologize because he has been successful,” Gowdy told CNN in a phone interview. “It seems to run counter to the arguments the party needs to be making. It feeds a narrative that’s not good for the party.”

Romney said in a CNN debate Thursday night that he was not sure how many years of tax returns he plans to release but said he will make them public sometime in April.

Gingrich - who posted his own tax returns online just as the debate began - pounced on Romney's vague response.

"If there's anything in there that is going to help us lose the election, we should know it before the nomination," Gingrich said. "And if there's nothing in there - if there's nothing in there, why not release it?”

Gowdy said he is not sure what Gingrich is after and said it was “unfair” for the former House speaker to demand that Romney release his personal tax data before April.

“I am trying to figure out what he really expects when he releases his returns,” he said. “That Romney is wealthy and he pays the legal rate? I don’t see what the big deal is.”

Also see:

Perry drops out, endorses Gingrich

Judge-drawn Texas redistricting map tossed out by Supreme Court

Gingrich releases 2010 federal tax records

Santorum tries to shoulder past Romney, Gingrich in debate

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • South Carolina
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. jamison

    Our previous president makes all of these GOP candidates look like Einstein – and we all know how smart he (Bush) was.
    Can is GONE, and he didn’t know anything about Libya even though it was in the news for the last 8 months. Newt is still around even though he committed adultery more than once. So much for the GOP Conservative Family Values – HA. Paul has some radical ideas like pulling the plug on the sick if they have no health insurance. Perry is GONE even though he was from another planet, and could not remember what he had for Lunch let alone what he will do if elected. Then he calls our Turkish allies terrorists. Bachman is GONE and she was a total idiot in denial. Romney would fire everyone except those in their corporate ivory towers. No wonder he doesn’t want anyone to know how much he paid in taxes.
    All of them are mean spirited, uncaring and vindictive. In 2012 I think I will stick with who we have now. At least he has a logical and clear thinking brain and CARES about the common man.

    January 20, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  2. Jariv

    People in South Carolina can't seriously think that Newt can beat Obama. Please South Carolina, be for real.

    January 20, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. markiejoe

    Gowdy should stick to what his father did.

    January 20, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. Four and The Door

    “That Romney is wealthy and he pays the legal rate? I don’t see what the big deal is.”
    The funny thing is if this is the worst you can find on Romney, he is a very robust candidate.
    And the thing that most people do not realize is that everyone gets the 15% Capital Gains tax rate regardless if you are rich, middle class or poor. If you buy stock or make an investment that you make money on, that is taxed at 15%. The only difference is, some people have this way of making money as their primary income. What's wrong with that? They are helping society with their investments. It's a win-win.

    January 20, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    Looks like one of those guys from "Deliverance". Does he play banjo?

    January 20, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. emj

    This gentleman doesn't realize we the people see through his attempt to rephrase the issue. Nobody cares how rich the guy is now. We just want to know what tax rate he pays and for him to stop saying he is just Willard from the block. Don't think we don't care 'how' he made his money and can't see that is not how he sells himself. It's as bad as John Edwards who made millions off of class action law suits meaning exploiting the suffereing of others. Go think of another excuse State Senator.

    January 20, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  7. Mike from Calgary

    I thought Mitt Romney agreed with the wisdom and the rationale that led his father George Romney to lead by setting the precedent releasing tax returns 40 plus years years ago. Maybe ... later ... some ... trust me.


    January 20, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  8. politics as usual

    Thank you, Rep. Gowdy! You are absolutely right!

    January 20, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  9. DENNA

    No one is asking Romney to apologize for being successful. However, it is reasonable to want to know how his policies at Bain affected the employees of this company. We are still hurting from the last Republican administration's disregard of the everyday worker. We don't want to make that mistake again. There must be a way for businesses to make money without screwing their employees.

    January 20, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  10. Chris Stanton

    What they don't want the American Public to realize is that the escalator isn't broken, it's just turned into stairs... Those to afraid or lazy to climb them aren't worthy of getting to the top. ~FIN~

    January 20, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  11. Just make it up

    When republicans say they are all for free enterprise in the United States, does that include hiding money in the Cayman Islands? Just curious.

    January 20, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  12. gg

    What the big deal is?..then release it.

    January 20, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  13. cisco4

    Proves the point this dude.. repuiblcians do not want to solve anything for the low income and middle class.. what about Mitts money in the offshore Cayman accounts.. he is afraid to release the income returns ti will implode his effort to be electd President...

    January 20, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  14. Charlie from the North

    Okay Romney supporters, think about this: He paid 15% tax, no problem I think he is honest and I am sure he paid his legal obligation. Here is my problem with him; when he says I will bet you $10k or when he $350,000 was a small amount of money. I get that the guy is rich and I don't begrudge him his money, but he shows a lack compassion for the less well off that is astounding. One of the drawbacks to being President is that living in "a bubble" they tend to lose contact with the common people. Romney talks like he has no such connection to begin with. Don't believe me? Check the polls where they ask the question "Does the candidate care about people like you?" Romney's % is quite low there. There are smart and reasonable Republicans out there. Not one of them is running for President this time around. Maybe they have been scared off by the Tea Party or something.

    January 20, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  15. Larry L

    I'm retired military and my family pays well over 15% in Federal Taxes. Romney is witholding his tax return because he doesn't want social conservatives to turn their attention away from hot-button issues and toward the reality that Republicans are lap-dogs for the rich and care nothing for the working class.

    January 20, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  16. ct

    it's not about just following the law but about the perspective of the individual..When you are trying to connect with middle class voters and at the same time paying alot less taxes than a secretary just shows how out of touch these candidates are...

    January 20, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  17. mk1

    I would be willing to bet that when his tax returns are made public, and make no mistake, they will be, they will show that a man worth some 250 million dollars in some recent years paid zero in taxes what with all the loopholes he was able to find plus his Cayman Island accounts. What a sleaze bag.

    January 21, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  18. BeverlyNC

    There is no defense for Romney. He is a dishonest, elitist, arrogant, corporate raider who fails terribly at pretending he is human. He claims corporations are people – but he has yet to show he is.

    January 21, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  19. Squigman

    More poop, from apointed pin head with an agenda.

    January 21, 2012 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  20. willie floyd

    The big deal is that voters should know BEFORE they vote!! You can't take a vote back. If there is nothing wrong then why refuse to disclose them??

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    January 21, 2012 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Diverting pension funds and sticking the US taxpayer with the bill is NOT "free enterprise", it's vulture capitalism. It's interesting that this little nobody steps up and starts spouting the latest Orwellian relabeling of capitalism (Frank Luntz insists "free enterprise" polls better than "capitalism" among today's less-informed voters). Among the GOBP deathcult elites, it is more important to defend their corrupt version of corporatism than it is to defend any particular candidate. Notice how little Trey Toady talked abut the "narrative" of capitalism. Yeah buddy, it's been a pretty ugly narrative over the last 30 years, and your deathcult owns it.

    January 21, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  22. Thomas

    Nikki Haley supports Mitt.

    Mark Sanford supports Newt , Marks wife dose not.

    Rep. Trey Gowdy is a Tea bag racist.

    January 21, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  23. diridi

    How much did he pay, 60/, 70/ or 150/???????

    January 21, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  24. Marie MD

    So the flip flopper has money. Fat boy has a half a million dollar ($500,000) credit line at Tiffany's. How many REAL Americans can claim that they even make half a million dollars a year or have a house worth that much? The medium salary in the US is $26,000. You are lucky you can buy groceries!
    The difference is in how it's presented. What I want is to see their long birth certificates. Seems like nobody cares about where they were born now!

    January 21, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  25. Independent Voters

    Gowdy you another teaparty congressman and you will be voted out of office.

    January 21, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
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