In a sit-down with NBC News' Brian Williams Wednesday, Mitt Romney said he will not release more tax returns just so Democrats can "take what's there, twist it, distort it, dishonestly use it in attack ads."
"I'm following the same precedent that was put in place by John McCain," Romney said. "Two years, and by the way, hundreds of pages of returns, for the Democrat operatives to go through to twist and distort and to turn in different directions and try to make a big deal out of. But, you know, the American people are not real concerned about tax returns."
Williams pressed Romney, pointing out that in the "real world" when people hear he's not going to release more tax returns, "they wonder, 'is there a year there where he paid no taxes?'
Romney replied: "I released all of the information about my financial holdings that's required by law. And then, in addition, beyond the law, I released, or will finally release when the last year is complete, two years of full returns."
"What we've noted is that our Democrat friends take what's there, twist it, distort it, dishonestly use it in attack ads," Romney continued. "I just don't want to give them more material than is required."
On The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne said Romney's ongoing refusal to release more returns suggests "there's something explosive in these tax returns."
"I think he's got a problem," said Dionne. "If there weren't questions about his foreign accounts, and if he weren't pushing the sort of tax policies in the campaign that he benefits from, if he weren't very different from everyone else in his economic status, then maybe his tax returns wouldn't be an issue. But guess what, he's got every one of those problems. And that's why this issue just won't go away."