Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Wednesday that Mitt Romney should have been the Republican nominee in 2008, even though at the time the congressman endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
In an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, Issa praised Romney for leaving a lucrative career at Bain Capital to serve the public, saying, "Candidly, [he] should have been our nominee, in retrospect."
Romney ended his 2008 bid for the Republican nomination in February of that year, endorsing McCain.
Issa, a wealthy businessman with his own overseas investments and several companies, joined Ingraham to ward off suggestions that Romney should release more of his tax returns. Though he led the recent effort to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for not releasing documents related to Fast and Furious, Issa said he does not feel Romney needs to release any more tax returns.
"Governor Romney has gone above and beyond the requirement," Issa said. "People act like it's a law or a requirement to do this, he's put up the same amount as we saw four years ago. Candidly, from my own experience, you put out financial disclosures and left-wing groups want to mischaracterize what they say, talk about it endlessly. I think the real question is, is there anything about Mitt Romney's ability to create wealth and jobs that we don't know?"
Issa said Americans know enough about Romney to be confident there's nothing hiding in the unreleased returns.
"For the years that they want tax returns, he's been campaigning for president, he's been going around speaking, he's been setting aside his phenomenal personal ability to create wealth and instead simply had, by comparison, passive investments," Issa said.
He also attacked President Barack Obama for his "terrible" investments such as Solyndra, the solar company that collapsed despite $535 million in federal loans.
"Clearly, [Obama] would not have been a success had he been in business," he said. "And I think that's what's really stifling the economy, is knowing that you have a man that hates the people who create jobs, while claiming he wants to create jobs. It's obvious that's part of the reason we're not creating jobs in America at the rate that we should."