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CNN "Piers Morgan Tonight" - Transcript

Interview

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Governor, how are you?

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY (D), MARYLAND: Well, Piers. How about you?

MORGAN: Very well.

How are you reacting to Mitt Romney's tax returns which have landed this Friday afternoon?

O'MALLEY: Well, I think it's about time but it's really only part of the story. I can't imagine how in the remaining 48 days of this race that he's going to be able to get away with not revealing at least as many years as he asked Paul Ryan to reveal in order for him to make an informed judgment as to whether or not Paul Ryan was fit to be a vice presidential candidate.

So I think it also shows the degrees of the amount of water that he's been taking on, especially given some of the comments about other Americans that perhaps don't earn as much as he does.

MORGAN: Right. But I mean, the guy gave $4 million to charity last year. Absolutely staggering amount, isn't it?

O'MALLEY: Yes. It's great -- if you were one of the charities that received it.

MORGAN: What do you mean by that?

O'MALLEY: I don't know. I mean, I think that a man who is a multimillionaire and has seen his wealth rise by great amounts over the last few years of being a huge beneficiary of the Bush tax cuts that benefited the wealthiest of Americans, I think it's probably a good thing that he gives to charity and indeed, he has the wherewithal to do that.

MORGAN: He's also, he's paid all the taxes that legally he's required to do and his campaign have made that very clear today. That goes back over the last 10 years as well. What exactly is the problem here? Is there anything ethically wrong with what he's been doing?

O'MALLEY: I think the bigger issue about the failure to release his tax returns, he must know that most Americans would react with some horror at the degree to which he's used tax avoidance schemes and Cayman Island bank accounts and the like to avoid paying the full amount of taxes that he should. Otherwise, he would have released it before now.

MORGAN: Let me challenge you on that.

O'MALLEY: Sure.

MORGAN: I might have a little snipe at him because I pay an awful lot more tax because I pay more income tax here but the guy, most of his tax is in the form of capital gains on investments, not income tax. And I just don't sense actually that the American people are that exercised --

O'MALLEY: But, Piers, there's a huge imbalance that has occurred when it comes to an American economy that's actually growing and strengthening the middle class. There has been a tremendous redistribution of the nation's wealth to the wealthiest 1 percent of our citizens.

Now, Mitt Romney is one of those who believes that America works best when the wealthiest are making more and more, whether it's because of investments, capital gains or what-have-you. The rest of us believe that the measure of whether or not our country's moving forward is whether or not we're creating more opportunities and strengthening and growing the ranks of our middle class.

MORGAN: Why should the American public re-elect a president under whose tenure unemployment remains at 8.2 percent, staggeringly high amount. The national debt has risen by $5 trillion, to $16 trillion. Gas prices have doubled.

I mean, the balance sheet against Barack Obama on the financial economics of this country are pretty damning.

O'MALLEY: Well, I believe the people are smart and I believe that people fundamentally are not gullible. And indeed, I think the polls show overwhelmingly that most of us understand that the wrecking of our economy was the result of policies that were inflicted upon us during the bush years.

We've now had 30 months in a row of positive private sector job growth. Foreclosures are now lower than they were before President Obama took office. And while we still have a lot of work to do, we are headed in a much better direction than we were the day he took that oath of office.

MORGAN: Governor O'Malley, thank you as always for joining me. I appreciate it.

O'MALLEY: Thank you, Piers.

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