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2016 Presidential Election

US Election Updates - September 24, 2012

Romney says tax rate is "fair"

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he believes it is "fair" that he paid a lower tax rate on his investment income of $20 million last year than someone who made $50,000 annually.

"Yeah," Romney said in an interview aired on Sunday on CBS’s 60 Minutes, when asked if he thought his relatively low rate was fair.

Romney released his 2011 return on Friday, which showed he paid an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent.

The top bracket for income tax in the United States is 35 percent. However, Romney lives mainly off of income derived from his investments, for which only 15 percent tax is payable.

"It is a low rate," Romney said. "And one of the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as 35 percent."

President Barack Obama and his Democratic party have tried to make taxes paid by the former private equity executive a major campaign issue. They pounced on Romney's comment, immediately posting the video clip on the Internet and highlighting it to supporters.

Romney has vehemently refused to release more than two years of his tax returns, breaking a presidential campaign tradition.

Democrats believe he is hiding something and argue that voters have the right to the information in order to make their own judgments about the finances of a potential future president.