WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia — Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley introduced a new line of attack on Gov. Mitt Romney today, saying the public should be suspicious of him because in 2008 Sen. John McCain considered the now-presumptive Republican nominee to be his running mate...but picked Sarah Palin instead.
"What about running for the office of the presidency this year makes it less important than the job that he didn't get over Palin the last time around?" O'Malley asked BuzzFeed, referencing the 23 years of returns Romney allowed McCain to examine while he was being vetted but hasn't released to the public.
Pressed in an interview at the National Governors Association meeting here whether there would be anything in those returns that would disqualify Romney from the presidency, O'Malley said he doesn't know — and that's why Democrats want to see them.
"But why would you pick somebody — why would you pick Palin over Romney?" he asked.
"His failure to release those is a bit of an implicit admission of...guilt," he added, portraying Romney's own individual wealth as the result of the trickle-down theories he advocates for the rest of the country. "There might not be anything illegal about any of it, but it's certainly not a good economic theory — unless you're a Romney."
O'Malley, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, continued by suggesting that Romney's own use of tax shelters points to the problem with relying on top-down strategies for economic stimulus.
"When Mitt Romney had the opportunity to avoid paying taxes, he took full advantage of it," O'Malley said. "It didn't result in job creation here at home, it resulted in Swiss bank accounts, it resulted in shell corporations in the Bahamas, it resulted in Cayman Island accounts."
At a later press conference, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin noted that Romney's father George Romney had released 11 years of returns when he ran for office, adding, “We can't figure out why Mitt won't follow his daddy."