Obama Says Romney Should ‘Absolutely’ Release Tax Returns

President Barack Obama said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney should ‘absolutely’ release his tax returns, calling it a tradition among U.S. presidents and candidates, in an interview conducted by Univision in Cartagena, Colombia.

Romney yesterday requested a six-month extension to file his 2011 federal income taxes, said Andrea Saul, his campaign spokeswoman. Saul said he would file and release the return before the Nov. 6 general election.

“I think that it’s important for any candidate in public office to be as transparent as possible, to let people know who we are, what we stand for, and you know, I think that this is just carrying on a tradition that has existed throughout the modern presidency,” Obama said yesterday, according to a transcript of the interview released today. The interview will air on Univision’s “Al Punto” program on Sunday.

Obama is at this year’s Summit of the Americas where trade, drug legalization and the debate over the addition of Cuba in future summits are at the top of the agenda. The gathering is being overshadowed by allegations of misconduct by Secret Service agents involving prostitutes.

Obama released his tax returns yesterday, which showed that he and First Lady Michelle Obama paid 20.5 percent in federal taxes on $789,674 in adjusted gross income for 2011.

Immigration Laws

Addressing frustration among Hispanic Americans about the failure to revamp immigration laws, one of the unfulfilled promises of his campaign, Obama said, “I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my second term.”

He said Republicans in Congress have blocked his efforts, and attacked Romney for supporting the Arizona law that would allow law enforcement to check citizenship papers of those they suspect to be illegal immigrants.

In his first public remarks since George Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder for the February shooting death of Trayvon Martin, 17, Obama said, “Issues of race are deeply embedded in the history of this country.”

“With each successive generation there are going to be misunderstandings,” the president said. “There are going to be tensions, there’s going to be tragedy sometimes, and what’s important for us to do is to look at it honestly, look at it squarely, but then move forward.”

Zimmerman, 28, is scheduled to be arraigned May 29 on a charge of second-degree murder.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kate Andersen Brower in Cartagena, Colombia, at 1973 or kandersen7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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