Republican Mitt Romney slammed President Barack Obama's persistent attacks on his business record as "dishonest" and misdirected Monday, and rejected calls that he release more of his tax returns.
After weathering a weeks-long full-court press against his business record, and enduring Chicago mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's demand to "stop whining" Sunday about attacks on Bain Capital, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee insisted he would hit out strong against Obama.
"I think when people accuse you of a crime, you have every reason to go after them pretty hard, and I'm going to continue to go after him," Romney told the "Fox & Friends" news program.
Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter had triggered a heated exchange between the campaigns last week when she suggested Romney may have committed a "felony" over his disclosures about his time at Bain Capital, the Boston-based private equity firm he started and headed.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, called Friday for an apology for the intensifying character assassination by the Obama campaign, only to have the president say he wasn't sorry for probing Romney's Bain record.
On Monday, Romney said "the best offense is to look at the president's record" and his failure to ignite a strong economic recovery.
Obama "has only one thing going: constant attacks on me. They're dishonest, they're misdirected," Romney said.
"It may work in Chicago, but it's not going to work across America."
Romney, whose wealth is estimated at some $250 million, dismissed growing suggestions -- including from an increasing number of Republicans -- that he release more of his tax records, saying it would merely provide more fodder for the Obama campaign.
"We're going to put out two years of tax returns," he said, alluding to the 2010 return he has already released and the full 2011 return he is expected to release before the November election. He has already released a 2011 estimate.
The 2008 Republican nominee "John McCain ran for president and released two years of tax returns," he said.
Democrat John Kerry ran in 2004, and "his wife, who has hundreds of millions of dollars, she never released her tax returns. Somehow this wasn't an issue," Romney added.
"The Obama people keep on wanting more and more and more. More things to pick through, more things for their opposition research to try to make a mountain out of."
Source: AFP Global Edition