|U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at a Victory town hall in Bowling Green, Ohio, July 18, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Mitt Romney is extremely rich.
So rich, he has an elevator in his garage for his luxury cars.
But now some Republicans are joining a growing chorus of his opponents demanding he show the world his tax returns and details about where he keeps his estimated $250 million US.
Disclosing 500 pages of financial statements this spring as part of his 2010 and estimated 2011 tax return wasn't good enough for President Barack Obama, whose re-election campaign now wants to see Romney's records dating back a decade.
According to the documents Romney did release during the GOP primary, he made $21 million in investment income in 2010; he paid $3 million in taxes and donated an equal amount to charities.
But the Democrats' latest salvo -- an attack ad released Tuesday -- hints Romney may not have paid any taxes at all in earlier years, and also that he may have money buried in offshore tax havens.
(His 2010 records do show Romney had money in a recently closed Swiss bank account, and currently has holdings in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, but the consensus is it's all above board.)
While Romney insists he will release his full 2011 tax return before election day, he won't release any others for fear his opponents will "distort" and "twist" the numbers. He also suggested Wednesday on Fox News that releasing two years of tax returns was good enough for Ariz. senator John McCain when he ran for president in 2008, so it's good enough for him.
McCain, who vetted Romney's finances when he was considering him as a vice-presidential candidate, said Tuesday there's noting in Romney's tax records that would "disqualify" him from the presidency, but McCain wouldn't elaborate.
But even as some conservatives -- including pundits, Republican governors and Ron Paul (who is still, believe it or not, running for the GOP presidential ticket somewhere) -- are calling for Romney to release more information to put the issue to rest, other big-wigs in the party are blasting Obama for trying to distract Americans from his poor economic record.
House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, called the tax return issue a "sideshow."
"The American people are asking, 'Where are the jobs?' They're not asking where in the hell the tax returns are. This is another sideshow intended to draw the American people's attention away from the real issues. And the real issue is that the president's economic policies have failed. They've actually made things worse," Boehner told reporters Wednesday. "As a result, he can't run on his record. He's got to try to run on something else. And so, whether it's the tax returns, whether it's (Romney's former company) Bain Capital, you'll see every distraction known to man, because the president can't run on his record."
Ironically, the tradition of presidential candidates releasing their tax records was started by Romney's father, George, when he ran for the White House in 1968 and released 12 years worth of tax returns.