(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker John Boehner offered a show of support for Mitt Romney after the former Massachusetts governor released two years of tax returns Tuesday, and used the opportunity to attack President Obama.
In response to requests from his rivals and his supporters, Romney released his returns for 2010 and his estimates for 2011 Tuesday morning. The returns show that Romney earned $42 million in the past two years and paid $6 million in taxes — a rate of 13.9 percent in 2010 and 15.3 percent in 2011.
“Well, we all know that there’s a reason we have low rates on capital gains. That’s because it spurs new investment in our economy and allows capital to move more quickly,” Boehner told reporters at a news conference, reports ABC’s John Parkinson. “And this election’s going to be a referendum on the president’s economic policies. His policies have failed.”
Earlier, Boehner, R-Ohio, told ABC News’ Jake Tapper that Romney’s returns don’t show anything wrong with the tax system, adding, “General Electric is more the face of a broken tax system.”
After the all of the speculation leading up to their release it comes as no surprise that have been the subject of a lot of discussion throughout the course of the day. Amid talk of the upcoming State of the Union address, here’s a look at what Republicans and Democrats have been saying about the documents.
Democrats’ reactions have ranged from mildly critical to harsh.
ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid referred to Romney’s tax records as “a little strange.”
“I think it’s a little strange that someone that’s making that much money is paying less taxes than Warren Buffett’s secretary,” Reid told reporters.
Democratic National Committee executive director Patrick Gaspard described the release as “limited” and “insufficient,” reports ABC’s Devin Dwyer. In a conference call to reporters Gaspard, a former White House political director, asserted that Romney’s decision to limit the release of his returns to just the past two years “weakens” Romney’s candidacy.
“Romney’s failure to release years worth of tax returns not only defies precedent for presidential candidates … but it further weakens the central premise of Romney’s candidacy,” Gaspard said.
The documents have also been the subject of some critique on the campaign trail.
ABC’s Shushannah Walshe reports that GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum took a subtle approach in his commentary on his opponent’s finances. Santorum congratulated Romney on the amount of money he earned in 2010, and took the opportunity to out that in the past, voters have had a harder time relating to millionaire candidates.
“Having someone that wealthy — was it an issue? Was it an issue in John Kerry’s campaign? It was,” Santorum said, referring to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s presidential bid in 2004. “That may be an issue with Governor Romney and his appeal to people.”
Romney’s tax rate tracks closely to the capital gains tax rate, which is currently 15 percent. The average effective tax rate for Americans is 11 percent.
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