Durbin: Romney needs to release tax returns
Updated 1:07 p.m. ET
(CBS News) On "Face the Nation," Senator Richard Durbin, D-Ill., challenged the presumptive Republican nominee for president to be more transparent with his finances, including releasing more years of his tax returns.
"Mitt Romney has failed to make an economic disclosure that every president and candidate for president has made in the last 36 years. It goes back to his father, who disclosed 12 years of tax returns - he disclosed one," Durbin said.
Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, also referenced a new article in Vanity Fair that provided insight into Romney's offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Switzerland - countries popular among the wealthy for secrecy and tax protections.
The Senator suggested that Romney's offshore accounts reflected either duplicity or a lack or faith in the U.S. dollar: "You either get a Swiss bank account to conceal what you are doing, or you believe the Swiss franc is stronger than the American dollar," he said.
Former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour said Durbin's remarks were "reminiscent" of previous arguments made by the Obama campaign, which he characterized as attacks on Romney's wealth as signifiers that he is "a bad person" who "doesn't care about people like you."
"Senator Durbin makes it sounds like he is dishonest. Well the fact of the matter is, this is a guy who has a spectacular career and record, enormously generous and given away millions and millions of dollars that he made - not of the government's money but of money he made," Barbour said.
Romney campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul called Durbin's statements "unseemly and disgusting."
"Barack Obama has become what he once ran against - a typical politician willing to use false and dishonest attacks to save his job after failing to do his job," she added in an emailed statement.
Barbour added that voters are going to care more about the economy and jobs this election than in the personal finances of candidates: "The facts are, this is the worst recovery after any recession in memory, at least since World War II, and the American people understand one of the big reasons is Obama's policies make it harder to create jobs," he said.
Referencing Durbin's criticism that Romney has not been specific about his proposals to boost the economy, Barbour said, "Romney is smart to wait before he starts laying out proposal after proposal, but he will [do so]."
"The important thing, Bob, is the American people will then compare that to Obama's record, and that referendum on his record will happen - John Boehner is right about that," Barbour said.
Despite weaker-than-expected jobs numbers, Durbin said that, with the creation of 80,000 jobs in June, under the president's term the country has seen 28 months of "consistent private sector job growth."
He credited job growth in the automobile industry, saying that it increased payrolls by 7,000 jobs last month. It "is coming back strong," he said, adding that Romney "wants to return us to those thrilling days of the Bush years that brought us into this recession."
Responding to a statement House Speaker John Boehner made last week that people "probably aren't going to fall in love with Mitt Romney," Barbour replied, "There is a lot to love about Mitt Romney. But the election still is going to be a referendum on Obama's policies and the results of those policies, which are pretty poor."
- Leigh Ann Caldwell
Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.Follow on Twitter »
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