The Washington Times - July 17, 2012, 05:04PM

Sen. John McCain denied insinuations Tuesday that he bypassed Mitt Romney as a 2008 presidential running mate because of the former Massachusetts governor’s tax history.

The Obama campaign has pressed Mr. Romney to release tax returns from before 2010, though the candidate is not required to do so. Democrats including Chicago mayor and former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley have suggested in recent days that Mr. Romney’s undisclosed financial past was the reason Mr. McCain chose former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a running mate.

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Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, denied the accusation in a Tuesday afternoon news release, calling it and other attacks on Mr. Romney’s tax history “bogus.”

“I selected Sarah Palin because she was the best fit for my campaign,” he said. “I have the highest respect for Governor Romney and his record of public service, and he will make an outstanding president.”

A top official within the 2008 McCain campaign has also denied the charge, but says that Mr. Romney was crossed off the vice-presidential short list because of his wealth rather than any issues with tax returns or investments.

Steve Schmidt, McCain’s top campaign strategist in 2008, told the Huffington Post in a story published Monday that the campaign was primarily worried that Mr. Romney’s wealth and many homes would have been a liability with voters.