WASHINGTON — A number of Republicans (and, of course, Democrats) are calling on Mitt Romney to release more tax returns than the two years he has agreed to, but U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio says it's a non-issue.
"I honestly don't think it's that big a deal," the Florida Republican and top Romney surrogate said Wednesday. "If he releases three years, they'll ask him for four. If he releases four, they'll ask him for five.
"If (people) think there should be more disclosure, they should pass a law to make it that way. I think he's complied with everything the law asks of a presidential candidate. ... He's released as many years as John McCain did. I don't really think it's a relevant issue."
Rubio released nine years of tax returns in his 2010 U.S. Senate race. McCain did release two years but countered recent trends.
George W. Bush released nine years of returns, Bob Dole 30 and George H.W. Bush 14. Ronald Reagan released only one year. Barack Obama made public seven years of returns in 2008. Romney's father, George, released 12 years in his 1968 presidential bid.
Speaking to Florida reporters from his office in Washington, Rubio indicated his political action committee, Reclaim America, could get involved in Florida's Senate race, saying while he appreciates his relationship with Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson he believes the seat is potentially key to a GOP takeover of the chamber. The leading GOP candidate is U.S. Rep. Connie Mack of Fort Myers.
More from the interview:
• Rubio will stump for Romney on Thursday in Orlando as a counter to President Obama's visit. "It'll be an interesting time to remind Americans of what a failure his policies have been for Floridians." Rubio will join Romney when the candidate makes a bus tour through Florida on Aug. 13.
• He's installed the iPhone app that will be used to disclose Romney's vice presidential running mate. Rubio, thought to be in the VP mix, was asked in jest what can be divined from that. "I don't know ... you can divine whatever you want. I just think it's pretty cool. I think it's a good way to announce it." He refused to comment on the VP selection process but was reminded that some people think he's too inexperienced. "I get more experience every day," the 41-year-old replied to laughter.
• He applauded Ted Cruz's win Tuesday in a Texas GOP runoff for U.S. Senate. Cruz, like Rubio, is 41 and Cuban-American and a tea party darling who knocked off an establishment favorite. "He's smart, he's articulate, he's really knowledgeable on constitutional issues which is something we need more of around here," Rubio said. "I think he'll be a real leader for a long time."
• Rubio said he's still working on his Dream Act alternative but does not appear close to releasing a proposal. "The stakes are so high and this issue is so important that I've always wanted to make sure whatever it is we propose, we have the answer to every question that could be raised. If you don't have the answer to one or two critical questions you set the whole thing back. You may even end up damaging it."