U.S. President Barack Obama’s campaign is keeping the spotlight on the tax records of challenger Mitt Romney.
Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, called on the Romney campaign Friday to release five years of tax returns, saying that if it did so, the Obama campaign would not criticize the Republican candidate for not releasing more of his tax returns.
Romney said Thursday he had not paid less than 13 percent of his income in federal taxes over the past decade.
In January, Romney released his full tax returns for 2010 and a summary of the taxes he paid in 2011. He has refused to release tax returns for other years.
Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades dismissed Messina’s proposal on the candidate’s behalf.
Rhoades said in an email to Messina that Obama, a Democrat, “wants nothing more” than to talk about Romney’s tax returns “instead of the issues that matter to voters, like putting Americans back to work, fixing the economy and reining in spending.”
President Obama, when he was running for the office in 2008, released eight years of tax returns, and has released his yearly returns while in office.
Romney’s returns for 2010 show that he and his wife, Ann, paid an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent that year. Obama’s tax returns for 2010 show that he and his wife, Michelle, jointly paid an effective tax rate of just over 26 percent.
The top U.S. income tax rate is 35 percent.
The Obamas earned $1.7 million in 2010, while Romney and his wife, Ann, earned more than $21.7 million that year.
Earlier this month, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, who leads the Democratic Party majority in the U.S. Senate, claimed that Romney had paid no taxes in some years, presumably by using tax shelters and other loopholes. Reid offered no proof for the allegation.
Romney on Thursday rejected Reid’s claim.