Romney's Wealth Worried McCain Camp in '08 But Steve Schmidt says he wasn't passed over for VP because of taxes By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Jul 17, 2012 2:14 PM CDT 25 comments Comments Mitt Romney jokes with John McCain during a Memorial Day Tribute at Veterans Museum & Memorial Center on May 28, 2012 in San Diego, California (Getty Images) (Newser) – Part of the reason John McCain passed over Mitt Romney was because of his vast wealth, top McCain strategist Steve Schmidt tells the Huffington Post. "Sen. McCain got caught flat-footed answering questions about how many houses he owned," Schmidt recalls. "We knew it would be a big liability that the presidential and vice presidential candidates together owned more than a dozen homes. It was like something out of a Saturday Night Live skit. I mean, come on." But Schmidt rejects Democratic scuttlebutt that McCain passed on Romney because of the 23 years' worth of tax returns he turned over to the campaign—returns he now refuses to release to the public. "That’s not the way the decision was made," Schmidt says. "We never sat around having a discussion about Mitt Romney's taxes."