Romney supporter Chris Christie says Romney should release tax returns

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks as Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, listens at left during a campaign rally in Exeter, N.H., Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012. AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney has been under pressure from Democrats and his GOP rivals to release his tax returns, but now one of Romney's supporters is piling on -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

"The way I've conducted myself in my public life all along is I've released all my tax returns, and I did it during the campaign," Christie said Wednesday morning on MSNBC, "went back a number of years and released my tax returns, and I've released them every year after I filed them -- right after I filed them to the public in New Jersey so they can see everything. And I think that's the right way to go, and that's what I would tell Gov. Romney to do."

Romney, who in August disclosed to the Federal Election Commission a net worth of between $190 and $250 million, initially had no plans to release his tax returns. But in Monday's Republican presidential debate, he said he would "probably" release his tax returns in April, though he would not promise to do so.

Past Republican presidential candidates like John McCain and George W. Bush have released their records in April, and President Obama has released his tax returns from as far back as 2000.

On Tuesday, Romney acknowledged that he pays an income tax rate close to 15 percent, the same rate that billionaire investor Warren Buffett has decried as lower than that paid by most middle-class Americans.

Christie said Wednesday that Romney's low tax rate won't come "as any great shock," since Romney makes most of his income from investments, which are taxed at a lower rate than wages.

"The fact is, let's get all the facts out there, see what the tax returns say, and then I think everybody will know the story's probably much ado about nothing," Christie said.

Last year, President Obama proposed a tax policy change inspired by Buffett -- dubbed the "Buffett rule" -- to ensure that taxpayers who make over $1 million a year are taxed at the same overall rates as middle class Americans.

Republicans, however, are opposed to taxing the wealthy more, arguing it burdens the people who create jobs. Democrats have seized on the issue to attack Romney, now claiming that instead of the "Buffett rule," the Republican candidate would prefer "The Romney Rule" -- in which "millionaires like him are entitled to pay taxes at a lower rate than teachers, cops or construction workers."

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