Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) denied that his decision to choose Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate over Mitt Romney in 2008 had anything to do with the former Massachusetts governor's tax returns.
McCain's statement Tuesday comes as President Obama's reelection campaign continues to hammer Romney to release more than one year of his tax returns. Earlier on Tuesday, McCain rejected the idea that he chose Palin over Romney, who ran against him in the 2008 Republican presidential primary, because of Romney's tax returns. McCain suggested that it was because Palin was the "better" candidate for his campaign.
But in the statement later on Tuesday, McCain clarified saying Palin was the "best fit" for his campaign rather than the all around best candidate.
"Some in the media have chosen to take my answer today, in response to the question of why I did not select Governor Romney as my vice presidential nominee, out of context," McCain said in the statement. "I selected Sarah Palin because she was the best fit for my campaign, and my decision had nothing to do with the bogus tax return attacks currently being waged by the Obama campaign.
"I have the highest respect for Governor Romney and his record of public service, and he will make an outstanding president."
On Monday, McCain's top adviser for his 2008 presidential campaign, Steve Schmidt, said that Romney's tax returns had not been a factor in McCain choosing not to pick Romney to be his vice president.
"We never sat around having a discussion about Mitt Romney's taxes through the prism of a liability if he were chosen" for the ticket," Schmidt said according to The Huffington Post.