Nathan Gray/AP Photo
Newt Gingrich speaking in Easley, South Carolina on Wednesday.
Further piling the pressure on Republican rival Willard M. Romney, the former speaker of the House decided to release his most recent tax returns. Newt Gingrich claims he paid a 31 percent tax rate in 2010 and plans to release the documents Thursday, two days before the South Carolina primary.
The issue of tax returns has become a sore spot for Romney in recent days. The former Massachusetts governor has courted deep scrutiny following his hesitation to release them, and then hinting yesterday he paid somewhere around 15 percent, a strikingly low amount given his perceived wealth.
The revelation of his tax rate has released a string of criticism from the left, who see the former Bain employee as another example of wealthy America appropriating the tax and legal system in order to avoid paying their fair share. Republicans, including supporter Chris Christie, called on Romney to release his records, a tradition followed by many past presidential candidates, including Mitt's own father, George Romney.
Gingrich, already criticized by the Republican establishment for his attacks on Bain Capital, which have been interpreted as anti-capitalist and thus against the party line, tried to avoid similar fate today.
He told reporters, "My goal is not to raise Mitt Romney's taxes. It's to let everybody pay Mitt Romney's rate. And so I'm not going to criticize Mitt Romney. I'm going to say, shouldn't we all have the option of a flat tax at the same rate he was paying."
— By David Seconi