(WASHINGTON) — Amid increasing pressure and persistent demands for Mitt Romney to disclose an exhaustive account of his tax returns, House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Paul Ryan, a top contender to join the presumptive GOP nominee on the ballot, blamed President Obama for attempting to “distract the American people in order to win his own reelection.”
“The American people are asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ They’re not asking where in the hell the tax returns are,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “This is another sideshow intended to draw the American people’s attention away from the real issue, and the real issue is that the president’s economic policies have failed. They’ve actually made things worse.”
“[President Obama] can’t run on his record. He’s got to try to run on something else,” he continued. “Whether it’s the tax returns, whether it’s Bain Capital, you’ll see every distraction known to man because the president can’t run on his record.”
The speaker also said that the president “ought to get serious about providing real leadership instead of spending all of his time out campaigning” and maintained that voters will not see Romney’s tax returns as a pivotal issue this fall, but will instead be focused on their own finances.
“It is not about the [Romney] tax returns. It’s about the economy,” he said. “The American people will vote with their wallet.”
Ryan, a top Romney campaign surrogate and potential running mate, agreed with Boehner and complained that Obama’s lack of focus on the economy has harmed the country’s recovery.
“These side issues are merely distractions from the task at hand, which is the president is not leading,” Ryan, R-Wis., said. “As a consequence of that, Americans are hurting.”
Boehner objected to President Obama’s remarks on the campaign trail last Friday when he told supporters that “if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.”
“Listen, I was a small business guy. I worked hard. I took a hell of a lot of risk and I was successful, and it sure wasn’t the government there to help my small business,” Boehner said. “I’m the one that had the sleepless nights. I’m the one that went out on a limb to hire people, and when I had to meet that payroll, it was my obligation not only to take care of those people who worked for me, but to take care of those families of those people who had worked for me.”
“The president’s attack on the private sector in America is exactly what’s wrong with this administration,” he continued. “He doesn’t give a damn about middle class Americans who are out there looking for work.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Brian Stelter, CNN Newswire
Mark Preston, Jeff Zeleny and Gregory Krieg, CNN Newswire