Pawlenty: Romney's released enough tax returns

CBS News

(CBS News) Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty came to Mitt Romney's defense Wednesday morning over the issue of tax returns, saying two years of returns is enough.

"That's the standard for Republican nominees," said Pawlenty, who is also considered a contender for Romney's vice president, on "CBS This Morning."

Romney has released his 2010 tax returns and said he will release 2011 once they are complete.

After co-host Norah O'Donnell pointed out previous Republican candidate George H.W. Bush released 14 years of tax returns and candidate Bob Dole released 30 years, Pawlenty admitted that the standard "has varied."

"The larger point is this. There is no claim or no credible indication that Mitt Romney has done anything wrong. He is in the range of past practice and custom," he said.

Pawlenty said the Obama campaign is using the tax issue as a distraction from the economy.

"Why aren't [the Obama campaign] pursuing the issue of ... 23 million Americans unemployed or dropped out of the workforce, 40 months of over 8 percent unemployment? Those are the big issues of this race, not 20-year-old college transcripts or 15-year-old tax returns," he said.

Co-host Charlie Rose asked Pawlenty about when the Romney campaign might unveil the running mate. "I have no knowledge of that." Pawlenty said. "We don't talk about the timing or process relating to the VP prospects."