Biden to Romney: 'Show your papers'
July 10th, 2012
12:59 PM ET
11 years ago

Biden to Romney: 'Show your papers'

(CNN) - Amplifying the Obama campaign's push for Mitt Romney to release more tax documents, Vice President Joe Biden made some of his most biting remarks yet in a speech Tuesday attacking the presumptive GOP presidential nominee on several fronts.

"He wants you to show your papers, but he won't show us his," Biden said.

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At a Las Vegas speech for the National Council of La Raza convention, a large Latino civil rights group, Biden carried the torch in the campaign's recent blitz against Romney over reports of his offshore investments.

He lobbed back at Romney the GOP candidate's charge that Obama is "out of touch."

"This is the man who says President Obama is out of touch?" Biden said. "This coming from the man who until recently had a Swiss bank account, and millions of dollars invested in the Grand Cayman Islands beyond scrutiny, and the president, Obama, is out of touch?"

Team Obama and national Democrats have seized on recent reports delving into Romney's finances, including one in the magazine "Vanity Fair," which called Romney a "remarkable financial acrobat" with accounts and investments in several places considered tax havens for Americans – Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Switzerland.

While the campaign hasn't directly charged Romney with tax evasion, they suggest the millionaire may be hiding important details about his finances by not disclosing multiple years of returns.

Biden also quoted from a recent Washington Post report on Romney's former financial firm, Bain Capital, and the GOP contender's suggestion to a Nevada newspaper that the housing market right itself by hitting "rock bottom."

"That may be a sound business judgement if you're running Bain Capital, but it's not a sound judgement for the United States government," Biden charged.

In January, Romney released his tax returns for 2010 and an estimate for 2011. Federal campaign law does not require candidates to release tax returns, but it does require candidates to file annual financial disclosure paperwork, which Romney has done.

The re-election team often points to Romney's father, the late George Romney, who released 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in 1968.

"He said, and I quote, 'One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show'," Biden said, referring to George Romney's stated reason for putting out a dozen years of documents.

Biden continued: "His son has released only one year of his tax returns. Making a lie of the old adage: Like father, like son."

Romney responded Monday to the recent barrage of attacks, saying his foreign investments have been held in a blind trust and managed by a trustee. The candidate emphasized he has no knowledge of where his money is being placed.

"I don't manage them. I don't even know where they are," Romney said in an interview with Radio Iowa.

Romney further reiterated he was in no violation of tax law.

"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," the candidate said, arguing the president was trying to "divert attention" from his own record.

A surrogate for Romney, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, came to the candidate's defense on Tuesday, saying it was time for Democrats to let go of the issue.

"He's released everything that he's required to release including paying more than sixteen percent of his income to charitable giving," the Republican congressman said on CNN's "Starting Point." "Governor Romney's been very successful. Get over it."

- CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

Filed under: Joe Biden • Nevada
soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. Bill from New Orleans

    Here's what bothers me. The guy is so rich, he has no idea where his money is? And he thinks he can connect with the average voter just by saying "well it isn't illegal...!"
    Then again, I'm not much of a fan of Obama either, so I guess I'm between a rock and a hard place.

    July 10, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. Dave

    Let's disclose the actual unemployment rate for the country and for hispanics and blacks. Let's start with this type of transparency instead of media ploys to help Obama.

    July 10, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. mike

    wait for the debates Obama will completely obliterate him and his lies

    July 10, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. scottf

    The far right GOP are nothing more than bullies. The best way to deal with a bully is to strike back decisively and often. Good for Joe Biden. Too bad some of his Democratic whimp colleagues won't do the same.

    July 10, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. Brian G

    No one is even hinting that Romney is breaking the law, but let's be entirely honest here. He's another rich guy gaming the system and getting around the tax laws of the US. The same tax laws that he'll be held accountable for should he become President. And I could care less how much he donates to "his" Mormon Church. Last time I checked, he is supposed to donate heavily as a member of the Mormon Church. That's like saying you're a good driver because you follow the speed limit, even though half the time you're driving on the sidewalk.

    July 10, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. Rob

    ...and this is from our pious world leader who has been found guilty, not once but TWICE, of plagarism...tantamount to stealing. What an authority on ethics he is!!

    July 10, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. Brian G

    I would love to see the folks at Wiki Leaks get a hold of Romney's financial records.

    July 10, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "Does anyone in the universe take Joe Biden seriously?"

    I do. He's extremely effective, no matter how much you like to pretend his generally good natured gaffes make him unserious as opposed to making him more human to the average voter. Blowing him off and glossing over what he does for Obama's campaign, however, is precisely what I want conservatives to be doing.

    July 10, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Mack

    What do Romney and Osama bin laden have in common? ... Swiss bank accounts. I believe Osama's is closed now. Maybe they used the same branch?

    July 10, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. SeeThruIt2

    As a Senator, Biden reportedly had one of the lowest incomes of all senators in DC. And Obama reportedly paid about 26% of his income in taxes. Romney makes millions, pays 16% to charity and pays 15% in taxes.

    Maybe it's time to elect someone who is generous, knows how to run a business, and knows the tax codes.

    July 10, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. kenny

    Biden to Romney.........."Papers Please"

    July 10, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. rc

    Actually much more likely than tax evasion offshoring is used to protect assets from lawsuits. Unfortunately, our society is so litiigious that many people of means offshore their assets so that in the event of a lawsuit not all their assets are at stake. Of course practically anyone with a financial advisor or in a 401k plan also ivnests in foreign stocks as part of a balanced portfolio. I'll bet the Obama's and Bidens have some as well. It would be a sad state of affairs if anyone who balances their portfolio was suddenly deemed unpatriotic or unworthy to hold office.

    July 10, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. blahahahaaaa

    I remember Mitt telling his republican rivals that when he found out the company he hired to take care of his lawn was using illegal...he told them to fire them..."I told them to stop using them for goodness sakes.. I mean, I am running for president." He responded.
    When it comes to his finances... I guess he didn't feel it was important to tell people handling his finances. LOL, he really wants us to believe that? I think Factcheck has already shown that Mitt is not being completely honest, because he does have some control over how they handle his finances.

    July 10, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. Laura, Boston

    @RRD...great post.

    I also would like to know how much the VP gave as chartiable donations? From what I read, not much. So Joe before you take the straw out of Romney's eye, try removing the rafter from yours & Obama's.

    July 10, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. ryan

    Romney's hiding something. It's probably perfectly legal, but I doubt it's presidential.

    July 10, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. wgf

    I doubt that Ronney is in violation of the law - he has enough money to hire enough people to keep it all legal. But I wouldn't be surprised if full disclosure showed investments that are not particularly American, and a person who does anything to avoid paying taxes to the country and society from which he has profited so handsomely. In other words, a true GOP patriot.

    July 10, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. curious

    Rmoney is hiding a lot. It's obvious. He is hoping that the anti Obama money being spent will give him the White House. Although Rmoney has lots of money, he's not smart enough to be a good president.

    July 10, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. Retired Army

    @ RRD


    July 10, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. was for for romney

    these side showsa re of no importance. distractions from the real issues of today. pres obama had an opportunity to be great...doesnt seem to be living up to it....just another poli.

    July 10, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. Romney is the savior of free enterprise

    Romney will save us from the socialist plague. If we get out of his way and let him do his work. The country need a hard nosed conservative to put us black on the straight and narrow. Most if not all the damage done by the socialist in chief can be undone on day one by excutive orders. Just think a return to free market medical care and full employment on day one of his administration. I can hardly wait.

    ROMNEY 2012

    July 10, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. ge

    all mitts investments are out side the united states–a true republican patriotic family putting america first

    July 10, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Milton K. Wiah

    The next thing we will hear is maybe Romney hides some money in South Africa, possibly in my country(Liberia).
    This guy is something else, and many Americans do not know it yet.
    The coming of second George W. Bush who staged two wars under false pretense, and led to the death of
    more than five thousand Americans and are dying today.

    July 10, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Peace

    What a big stain Romney has put on himself? Even if he comes with papers showing his Tax Returns 20 years back, people will still doubt him. He hasn't done himself any help.

    July 10, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. Chumlee

    Go Joe!

    Obama/Biden 2012

    July 10, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. JP

    Here are a few options:
    Option 1 – Put you $100 in US bank and get 1% interest – $1 a year, and IRS gets 15 cents
    Option 2 – Put your money elsewhere in banks paying much higher interest/dividends (say 9- 10%) – $10 a year, and IRS gets $1.5
    Which is better? That is called wise investment, and there is nothing unpatriotic about it. In fact it is more patriotic, generating more revenue for the Government for the free loaders to enjoy.

    July 10, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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