Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney defended his status as a taxpayer on Thursday, telling reporters before a fundraiser in South Carolina that he "never paid less than 13 percent" on any of the tax returns he has filed over the last decade, as quoted by the Associated Press. Romney has refused to release any of the tax returns that he filed prior to 2010.
Romney's refusal to release more of his tax returns has proven to be a controversial decision on both sides of the political aisle. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, reignited the debate almost a month ago when he claimed that he had an anonymous source that confirmed that Romney had not had to pay any taxes in at least a decade.
Here is some of the key information to merge from Romney's remarks on Thursday and their immediate aftermath.
* Romney told reporters that he "did go back and look" at his tax returns from the last decade in the wake of the controversy surrounding his refusal to release them, according to Reuters. He said that although he never paid less than 13 percent in any single year, if his charitable donations were factored in, his tax rate was actually 20 percent or more per year.
* Romney also said that focusing on his tax returns during the presidential campaign, instead of topics like unemployment or the number of families living below the poverty line, seemed "very small-minded compared to the broad issues that we face," as quoted by Reuters.
* A spokesperson for Sen. Reid told the media on Thursday following word of Romney's remarks that "we'll believe it when we see it," as quoted by CNNMoney, and continued to put pressure on him to release more returns.
* A campaign spokesperson for President Barack Obama also criticized Romney after his remarks on Thursday. Fox News quoted an email sent to reporters by campaign spokesperson Lis Smith, in which she wrote that Romney "has forfeited the right to have us just take him at his word."
* The Los Angeles Times quoted further statements by Smith on Thursday, where she said that in light of Romney's comments, the Obama campaign has "a simple message for him: Prove it."