Democrats to Romney: Prove you paid taxes

(CBS News) Mitt Romney's tax returns continue to dog the candidate as Democrats call on the presumptive nominee to release more than one year of tax returns. The latest uproar came when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Romney paid no taxes for ten years.

"He should come forth with his tax return, not because there's been a charge, [but] because the American people deserve to know what is in his tax returns," former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation." "Romney could give us the proof that he has paid taxes consistently."

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell came to Romney's defense during the same program, saying that Reid's accusations are "reckless and slanderous."

"This is a reckless and slanderous charge by Harry Reid. This is a guy who hasn't released his own returns and for three years can't get the budget passed in the United States Senate," McDonnell said. "[P]eople don't care about Mitt Romney's tax returns. They care about their own tax returns and the taxes that are going to be increased under President Barack Obama where nearly a million small business people are getting a whopping tax increase. That's the issue in this race."

"Of course he should release his tax returns. We all do it. It's become commonplace in American politics," former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said. "I agree with Governor McDonnell, it's not a central issue, but people want to know if American politicians pay their taxes fairly like everybody else. And Governor Romney could absolutely do away with this issue. We all do it in virtually every election in America. So just, Mitt, go ahead and do it."

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Rendell, McDonnell and Strickland joined the program with Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., all representatives of key battleground states - Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio and Florida respectively - being contested this presidential election.

The roundtable also discussed Mitt Romney's running mate, which has yet to be announced. Gov. McDonnell, who is considered to be on the short list told host Bob Schieffer, "And as soon as I find out, I'll let you know" if he's chosen.

Although Diaz-Balart said McDonnell would be a "great" vice presidential candidate, but he is "biased" toward his home-state Senator Marco Rubio, who is also suspected to be considered.

"I think Marco Rubio would be a spectacular candidate for vice president. I think he would energize the country. I think he has a great story. He's bright," Diaz-Balart said.

Strickland said of his home-state Senator that another possibility, Ohio Senator Rob Portman has some liabilities for Romney, including his ties to the George W. Bush administration.

"He was George Bush's trade representative and the outsourcing of jobs and our trade policies is a big deal in Ohio. He was the budget director at a time when we were careening towards the conditions that led to this recession," the former Democratic governor said.

He speculated that Romney would chose former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. "This is my personal guess for a lot of reasons. Number one, former Governor Pawlenty has a connection to the evangelical community, which I think is important for Mr. Romney."

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Rendell, possibly only half-joking, said that he's "for Michele Bachmann for vice president. I want everyone to be clear about that," referring to the fire-brand conservative congresswoman from Minnesota who is a divisive figure in American politics.

"Let me say I believe America has a spectacular vice president who has done just an amazing job, and I think that weighs on President Obama's side," he added about Vice President Joe Biden.

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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