WASHINGTON (July 18, 2012)—U.S. House Speaker John Boehner told reporters Wednesday at the Capitol that President Barack Obama's focus on discrepancies over when challenger Mitt Romney left his private equity firm is meant to distract from the president's stewardship of the economy.
Boehner said the president's focus on Romney's tenure at Bain Capital shows that Mr. Obama, "Doesn't give a damn about middle class Americans who are out there looking for work."
He said voters are more concerned about unemployment than what is in Romney's tax returns.
Romney has said he left Bain Capital in February 1999, but federal filings list him as sole owner and CEO through February 2001.
Mr. Obama's campaign and others have been pressuring Romney to make his returns public.
Meanwhile former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is defending Romney's refusal to release more of his income tax returns, arguing "there is no claim or no credible indication" he's done anything wrong.
Pawlenty, whose name has figured prominently in speculation about who will be the Republican vice presidential candidate, told "CBS This Morning" he thinks the news media have been obsessed by questions about Romney's taxes and he accused Mr. Obama of "hanging shiny objects before the public and the press, and the press is taking the bait."
The former governor called releasing two years' of returns "the standard for Republican nominees."
"I don't think there's any secret to the fact that Mitt Romney has been successful and he's achieved success and he's paid a lot of taxes,” he said.