Mitt Romney will release his 2011 tax returns by Oct. 15, his campaign adviser Ed Gillespie said Sunday.

The Republican presidential candidate will reveal "two years of full tax returns [2010 and 2011], which by the way is consistent with what John McCain did in 2008," Gillespie, a veteran GOP operative, said on "Fox News Sunday." "It wasn't an issue in 2008 because President Obama was not trying to distract from a four-year-long record of failed policies."

Host Chris Wallace said, "That would be three weeks before the election. That would seem to me to be a crazy time to release tax returns. So, strategically, you got to make a decision when you want to release these tax returns because you know it will be at least a distraction, if not an attack point for Democrats."

"Sure," Gillespie replied. "Look, Oct. 15 is the deadline for the IRS on an extension. We have said, as soon as they are ready, we're going to release them. And I believe they'll be ready before that."