McCain says 'nothing disqualifying' in Romney's tax records
July 17th, 2012
05:46 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain says 'nothing disqualifying' in Romney's tax records

(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.

Filed under: 2012 • John McCain • Mitt Romney
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. chuck weidemann

    Best fit the campaign? How did that work for you Mr. McCain??? Best to say choosing Palin was a mistake...people will belive that!!!!

    July 17, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  2. Christopher

    Yea this from the guy that picked Sarah Palin as a running mate instead.

    July 17, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. T'sah From Virginia

    ►McCain says 'nothing disqualifying' in Romney's tax records◄
    OMG – Really McCain? Please someone take him to the hospital ward
    With such a straight-out lie like that, he should have a cat scan for sure
    He's definitely on his way and behind him; he should "Shut the Front Door!!!"

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!!

    July 17, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. Working Class Hero

    GOOD! then there should be nothing to hide.... Fork em over Romney or continue to look even more foolish and out of touch with America... if it is possible

    July 17, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. WeR4Freedom

    I will vote for Romney even if he picks Mrs Piggy for VP. Anyone at this point is better than our current fast and furious president and staff. We are tired of failed promised made by Obama to get elected. Did you forget America, just watch all the YouTube videos of what he promised all of us and didn't do anything to help us.

    July 17, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  6. Slightly Left of Center

    Scurrilous? Oh, John, you are too funny. Did someone give you a thesaurus to come up with that one?

    July 17, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  7. the buzz is out the Romney paid zero income tax in 2009 . . .

    after the mccain people looked as his taxes . . . developing . . .

    July 17, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  8. Leftcoastrocky

    A number of conservatives, such as pundits Bill Kristol and George Will and GOP politicians such as former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and primary rival Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, have demanded that Romney release his tax returns. And now the right-leaning National Review Online released an editorial stating that Romney needs to release them.

    What are you hiding, Romney? My guess is that one or more years you paid no or only minimal taxes. It is that slick Wall Street way which upsets most of the hardworking blue collar Americans. This is the same Wall Street arrogance which brought us toxic assets (and consequently the Great Recession) and now Libor.

    July 17, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  9. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Your judgement may be somewhat questionable, John, based on some of your recent decisions. I'm hardly comforted by your endorsement. Mitt should show us his papers and let the people decide if there is something "disqualifying" for their votes.

    July 17, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  10. anthony78

    Then WHY haven't we seen them??

    McCain already said Palin was a better choice then Mitt.
    That says speaks volumes. I can't wait for the Obama team to use this line in ads later.

    July 17, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  11. Jules

    When McCain says he can "personally vouch" and that there is "nothing disqualifying" in Mitt Romney's tax returns – ok – does personally vouch for mean he actually reviewed the thousands of pages of tax returns that were submitted by Mitt Romney. My guess is probably not. Presidental candidates having offshore accounts and using every loop hole in the book to avoid paying taxes does not "disqualify" him from being president – the constitution is clear – you have to be born in America and at least 35 years old, so of course it doesn't disqualify him. McCain would not answer the question about paying taxes and or hiding money offshore. That is pretty telling – so once again the old guys come out to pinch hit for Romney only to strike out. RELEASE THE TAX RETURNS. I'm sure McCain already knows that if Mitt Romney releases his tax returns there will be plenty for all Americans to talk about since he didn't actually answer the questions he was asked about offshore accounts and whether or not he had paid taxes.

    July 17, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. Jules

    Wait a minute – this is the guy that thought Sarah Palin was qualified to be one heartbeat from being President of the United States and he thought she was a better candidate than Romney. Guess what, John, Romney's skill set and resume have not changed one iota since you decided he should not be one hearbeat away from being president. I am not sure I would put much stock in this guy deciding who is qualified or not qualified about anything,

    July 17, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  13. Dogman

    Of course there isn't anything that would disqualify him. Talk about sweeping it under the rug. BUT I'm quite sure that there are lots of things that he doesn't want people to know. If he has nothing to hide he would show them – bottom line. He is down to the wire with this presidential run. He would certainly show them if there wasn't any hint of Swiss cheese...

    July 17, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  14. biologixco

    Why should we believe John Mc Cain?
    And let the "October Surprise" begin...!

    July 17, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  15. biologixco

    The Republicans are getting nervous. Maybe they didn't vet Mitt Romney as well as they should've

    July 17, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  16. trex

    ...........if there's nothing wrong............RELEASE 10 YEARS OF ROMNEY'S TAX RECORDS....................

    July 17, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  17. bassman

    John McCain was right. It was a stupid question. POLITICO knew he would defend his running mate,and in doing so he had to say Palin was the better candidate. They set him up. If he had not defended Palin, POLITICO would have gone with a story stating McCain throws Palin under the bus.

    July 17, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  18. biologixco

    Let the "October Surprise" begin!
    Why should we believe John McCain?
    Mitt is getting more desperate by the day.

    July 17, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  19. James Klimaski

    How does he know? Has he seen them? But the real issue is what of Romney's wealth is being hidden from the tax man? Has McCain seen those numbers?

    July 17, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  20. Timothym

    I trust paper, not words senator.

    July 17, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  21. Gurgyl

    So you can be a tax cheat and president?????? This guy is senile. His is out of mind.

    July 17, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  22. Larry L

    "Nothing disqualifying"... What does that mean? If he was shown to still be running Bain Capital he'd be shown to be lying – again. That wouldn't legally "disqualify" him from running. If he made money from a chain of abortion clinics he'd still be legally "qualified". McCain is being slippery.

    July 17, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  23. jean

    If there is nothing "disqualifying" in those returns, then releasing them shouldn't be a problem.

    July 17, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  24. Reality check

    Obama has only one desperate and pathetic strategy to beat Romney: Tear down Romney's record and character through smear and innuendo, so that Obama has a very low standard to compare himself to. It's US politics at its worst, but may be convincing enough. So at some point, Romney will need to the same.

    July 17, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  25. Montykoolaid

    Wow...defensive/desperate much?

    He WILL NOT ANSWER a single question directly. Keeps falling back to prepared lines.

    July 17, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
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