Pelosi Clarifies Remarks On Romney, Tax Returns

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi clarified remarks Thursday after she was interpreted as having downplayed her — and the Obama campaign’s — demand that Mitt Romney release more than two years of tax returns.“Clearly, from the Leader’s answers, there is a standard for presidential candidates that has not been met by the former Republican governor and that’s what she said when she answered four questions on the topic,” a Pelosi aide told TPM.

At her weekly press conference, Pelosi was asked four times why members of Congress shouldn’t live up to the same standard and also release multiple years of tax returns. After answering the question and several follow-ups, she tried to move on to a new topic.

“See, we spent too much time on it,” Pelosi said. “We should be talking about middle income tax cuts and why they were going to reinvigorate the economy and remove the uncertainty and take us to a place where the headwinds that are stalling some of our economic growth. That’s really what is important.”

Roll Call reported that the Democratic leader downplayed her demand and called the issue of Romney’s tax returns a distraction in a story headlined, “Nancy Pelosi Downplays Tax Return Demand.” The Romney campaign blasted out the article to reporters, the ex-governor having stated that he won’t release additional tax returns.

The “we” in Pelosi’s quote — as reporters from ABC News and Politico noted on Twitter — was a reference to those assembled at the press conference discussing House members’ taxes, rather than the national conversation over a presidential candidate’s tax returns.

Earlier in the exchange, the House minority leader reiterated her stance on Romney, arguing that releasing many years of tax returns is appropriate on the presidential stage.

“I said I think he should release his tax returns,” she said. “That is the custom for people running for President and why wouldn’t you? Because you’re going to invite — I think that it’s a relationship between the person running for President and the American people.”