GOP debate: Romney says he'll only release two years of tax returns

Mitt Romney said that he will only release two years of his tax returns.

He also said there will be "no surprises" in the returns that he will release on Tuesday.

The former Massachusetts governor said he disagreed with his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney (R), who released 12 years of returns while running for president.

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"I agree with my dad on a lot of things but we also disagree," Romney said at Monday night's GOP debate. "Going out with 12 years of returns is not something I'm going to do. I'm putting out two years, which is more than anyone else on this stage. I think it'll satisfy the interest of the American people... I think that's the right number."

The issue has dogged Romney for weeks and hurt him in South Carolina. In two straight debates he dodged and gave vague answers on the matter, leading to boos at the last debate.

After losing Saturday's South Carolina primary, Romney said he'd release his 2010 returns and a 2011 estimate on Tuesday in an effort to put the issue to rest.

But the issue came up again Monday night.

Romney tried to pivot the conversation to his economic plan, saying: "The real question is not my taxes but the taxes of the American people."

But moderator Brian Williams brought the conversation back to Romney's tax returns.

Romney said he was sure people would talk about his returns. "You'll see my income come, you'll see how much taxes I paid, all I gave to charity," he said, adding he hadn't paid one more dollar in taxes than he owed.

"I'm proud of the fact I pay a lot of taxes," he said.

"I don't think you want someone as president who pays more taxes than he owes," he noted.

Newt Gingrich, who had hammered Romney for not releasing his taxes, noted Romney said he paid an estimated 15 percent in taxes, which is the normal rate for capital gains income. "I'd like to bring everyone down to Mitt's rate," Gingrich said.

Romney asked Gingrich if he'd bring the capital gains rate down to zero. When the former speaker replied in the affirmative, Romney pointed out: "Under that plan I'd of pay no taxes in the past two years."