WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama called on likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns, in an interview with Univision released on Saturday.
Obama’s campaign has been pushing Romney, a multi-millionaire former private equity executive, to release several years of his prior tax returns to shed light on how he amassed his wealth.
In an interview conducted on Friday and released on Saturday, an anchor for the Spanish-language network noted Obama had released his tax returns for 12 years and asked him if Romney should do the same.
“Absolutely,” the president replied, according to a transcript.
“I think that it’s important for any candidate in public office to be as transparent as possible, to let people know who we are, what we stand for, and you know, I think that this is just carrying on a tradition that has existed throughout the modern presidency.”
Romney released his 2010 returns and estimates for 2011 in January but has been reluctant to release more.
On Friday the former Massachusetts governor requested an extension to file his 2011 tax forms while estimating his tax liability at $3.2 million for last year.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Obama was trying to distract Americans from “real issues” by commenting on Romney’s taxes.
“Governor Romney has already released his 2010 return and an estimate of his 2011 income and taxes. He will release his full 2011 return when it is filed,” she said.
The White House released Obama’s tax forms on Friday, showing that the president and his wife, Michelle, paid an effective tax rate last year of 20.5 percent on income of $789,674.
Reporting By Jeff Mason; Editing by Eric Walsh and Vicki Allen