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Mitt Romney now says he'll make public his tax returns

Under pressure over his wealth at a time when many Americans are struggling, and coming off a drubbing in the South Carolina primary, Mitt Romney says he’ll release his tax returns this week.

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Republican presidential candidates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich shake hands at the end of the Republican presidential candidate debate in Charleston, S.C., Thursday, Jan. 19.

David Goldman/AP

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Under pressure over his wealth at a time when many Americans are struggling, and coming off a drubbing in the South Carolina primary, Mitt Romney says he’ll release his tax returns this week.

"We made a mistake holding off as long as we did and it just was a distraction," Romney said on Fox News Sunday.

A “major distraction,” he might have said.

Romney and South Carolina primary winner Newt Gingrich are both millionaires. But with an estimated net worth upwards of a quarter billion dollars, Romney is one of the wealthiest presidential candidates in US history – certainly near the top of the “one percent” that Occupy Wall Street protesters (and President Obama) have been harping on.

Gingrich had been needling him about that, critical of the way Romney made his millions running a controversial investment firm that may have helped create jobs but that also led to bankruptcies and many layoffs.

RECOMMENDED: How much do you know about Mitt Romney? A quiz.

Gingrich got the jump on Romney last week by revealing that he and his wife Callista had paid nearly $1 million in taxes on about $3 million in income in 2011 – an effective tax rate of about 32 percent, which is what many Americans pay.

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