Sen. John McCain said on Tuesday he can "personally vouch" there was nothing disqualifying in the 23 years' worth of tax returns that Mitt Romney submitted to his team in 2008, when he was vetted for a vice presidential spot.
"Everything was fine," McCain told reporters on Capitol Hill. "I can personally vouch for the fact that there was nothing in his tax returns that would in any way be disqualifying for him to be a candidate."
When pressed about whether Romney might be shielding his returns because he paid no taxes, McCain refused to discuss such specifics.
"Please, I am not going to get into that kind of conversation," he said. "All I can tell you, and I can tell you again, is there was nothing disqualifying in his tax returns. And that is a fact."
The Obama campaign has repeatedly attacked the presumptive Republican nominee on the tax return issue, causing even some Republicans to step up calls for Romney to release additional tax returns so as to put the matter to rest.
Romney has released his 2010 tax return and said he will release his 2011 return as well.
McCain, whose campaign reviewed 23 years' worth of Romney tax returns in 2008, said that the former Massachusetts governor should not give way to increasing pressure. McCain's comments echoed those made by his former campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, who told The Huffington Post that Romney's taxes did not play a role in McCain's passing him over for the vice president spot.
"So if your opponent makes a big deal out of some issue, then you're supposed to do something that no one else has done?" McCain asked. "Like if you're married to a very wealthy billionaire, should you have been revealing her tax returns?"
"I don't recall that happening with the Kerry campaign," he added, referring to Teresa Heinz Kerry's refusal to disclose her tax returns during the 2004 presidential bid of her husband, Sen. John Kerry.
"Should Kerry have released more? Should I have released more? Should George Bush have released more?" McCain asked.
"You can make the same argument with every other candidate," he continued. "[The Obama campaign] can't talk about the economy, so they have to make personal attacks against a good and decent man."
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