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Christie: Romney Should Release His Tax Returns 'Sooner Rather Than Later

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"a political target"

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is known for his straight talk and fearless rhetoric. This morning, Christie continued this trend when he appeared on NBC's "Today" and MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and proclaimed that GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney should release his tax returns.

The governor, who endorsed Romney back in October, struck a balanced tone and said that it is "up to [Romney]" when he releases the returns. But Christie maintained that it is always more favorable for candidates to be as open and honest with the public as possible.

While highlighting his own record of disclosure, Christie essentially said that Romney would be better off releasing the tax returns immediately, rather than waiting until April.

"I would say if you have tax returns to put out, you know, you should put them out sooner rather than later," Christie said.

Watch Christie's interview on NBC's "Today":

In another appearance on "Morning Joe," Christie discussed Romney's 15 percent income tax rate, which has been criticized by some as being too low. National Journal has more:

Romney's taxes have emerged as a political target in the week leading up to the critical South Carolina primary. During Monday night's debate, Romney said he would "probably" make his tax returns public in April.

Now, the multi-millionaire candidate is on the defensive after acknowledging on Tuesday that his effective tax rate is just 15 percent—the same rate paid by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has criticized the tax system for being too friendly to the ultra-wealthy.

Christie, though, defended this tax rate and said that critics will likely realize that there isn't much of a story here once Romney's tax returns are released.

"In terms of the 15 percent effective rate, for people who know this I don't think it comes as any great shock, because the guy hasn't been having a job where he's been getting income over the last number of years," Christie said. "He's been getting money from investment income that is taxed at a different rate."

Watch these comments, below (around 9:00):

 

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