GOP Presidential Primary

Romney to release tax returns Tuesday, calls delay ‘a mistake’

Gov. Mitt Romney said Sunday he will release his tax returns on Tuesday as he tries to pivot from an issue that dragged him down in his South Carolina primary loss to Newt Gingrich.

Romney said he’ll post his 2010 tax return and 2011 estimate online Tuesday, after he was hammered by his rivals and gave awkward debate answers last week as he said he would release his tax returns in April.

“I think we made a mistake holding off as long as we did,” Romney said in an interview on Fox News Sunday. “It was a distraction. We want to get back to the real issues of the campaign.”

{mosads}Romney’s tax returns became a major issue in the South Carolina primary, as he said he was holding off on releasing them and then said that his effective tax rate was “probably” about 15 percent. 

While Romney was leading in South Carolina at the start of the week, the issue dragged him down as Gingrich overtook him in a 40-28 win Saturday.

Romney talked about moving on from South Carolina and being in the race for the long haul, outlining the criticisms he’ll continue to launch against Gingrich as the race moves to Florida.

Twice Romney mentioned that he was the candidate who can deliver “sobriety, capacity steadiness.” He attacked Gingrich for climate change legislation and his criticism of the budget from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.).

“I think the speaker has some explaining to do sitting on the sofa with Nancy Pelosi and arguing for climate change regulation, calling the Ryan plan right-wing social engineering,” Romney said. “Look over his record and you’ll see he’s not as conservative, not as reliable a conservative leader, as people might have imagined.”

Romney said that he didn’t think his religion was going to be a factor in deciding the nominee, because most people vote based on who they think will be the next president.

Romney admitted that Gingrich had a good week, as a win in South Carolina could have sealed the nomination for Romney, but the former governor said that the setback was only temporary.

“In my experience, a lot people face setbacks, and you come back from them,” Romney said.

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