The Washington Times - July 11, 2012, 10:30AM

The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee is leaving it up to GOP Senate candidates as to how many years of tax returns they want to release, suggesting Wednesday that the issue has been cooked up by Democrats to draw attention away from President Obama’s record in office.

“I think it’s up to the individual candidates, what they feel comfortable with,” Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, said on MSNBC. “But I think it’s by and large a distraction. … In the presidential race, it’s clear that President Obama wants to talk about anything other than his record and the facts that Obamacare was determined to be a tax on the middle class.”


He called the Democratic line of attack “a distraction from [Mr. Obama’s] litany of broken promises.”

Democrats have criticized Mitt Romney for releasing just one year of his returns and an estimate for 2011. In Mr. Cornyn’s 2002 campaign, for example, he released eight years of his returns.

“I was entirely comfortable with doing that, and I thought it was the right thing to do,” he said. “But again, it wasn’t the main point of contention in the election. I felt like eliminating the distraction was the right thing to do, and then talk about things that my constituents and the voters really cared about.”

When asked whether he thought Mr. Romney should eliminate the distraction, Mr. Cornyn demurred.

“Well, I think he ought to do everything he can to force the president to defend his record, as well as the people who are running for re-election, Democrats, who voted for a tax increase on the middle class by voting for Obamacare in addition to 22 other taxes,” he said.