Friday, August 10, 2012

Harry Reid keeps up the pressure on Romney

What did I do, Harry? I'm just a poor rich guy.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid isn't just not backing down from his claim that he was told by a Bain Capital investor that Mitt Romney didn't play taxes for ten years.

He's actually ramping it up.

And it all makes perfect sense. Consider:

Romney refuses to release any more of his tax returns, prompting very reasonable spectulation that he's hiding something.

Reid adds fuel to the fire by suggesting, from an anonymous source, that what Romney is hiding is that he didn't pay any taxes for ten years.

This puts Romney even more on the defensive.

Romney attacks Reid, saying he should "put up or shut up," but Reid, correctly, throws it right back at Romney, noting that the issue isn't what his source said but that Romney hasn't released his tax returns and is likely hiding something.

Republicans circle the wagons, going on the talk-show circuit last Sunday to attack Reid, but all they really managed to do was keep the story going. Reid doesn't care about whether Republicans like him, nor even about so much about his credibility. He's not running for re-election, and he can take the heat. And he knows that this is about Romney, and about helping President Obama.

And it's working.

As Frank Rich noted the other day:

According to the latest Times swing-state poll, about half the voters already believe that Romney must release more tax returns. The longer Romney refuses, and the more he and his surrogates whine about Reid, the longer the issue stays center stage and the more that poll number is likely to go up. And Republicans know it too — Reid seems to be driving them insane.

But here's the thing about Reid's claim -- something that isn't getting nearly enough attention: He didn't say that his source was right. He just said that a source told him that Romney didn't pay any taxes for ten years. There's a huge difference. Reid was playing messenger, that's it.

Assuming that he actually has a source, of course.

Now, Republicans like Reince Priebus and Lindsey Graham are calling him a liar. But what if he does in fact have a source who told him just that? Then he's not lying, is he?

And while there has been a lot of skepticism, the implication being that he made it all up, he's keeping up the pressure on Romney by asserting that he does in fact have a source.

As HuffPo is reporting:

A top aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) provided new details Wednesday on the identity of Reid's source for the claim that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years. Romney has since called on Reid to release the name of the source.

"This person is an investor in Bain Capital, a Republican also, and somebody who has been dealing with Romney's company for a long, long time and he has direct knowledge of this," said Reid aide Jose Parra, referring to Romney's tax returns...

Reid Chief of Staff David Krone previously described the source to Politico as a successful businessman, and CNN's Dana Bash reported that the source was "credible."

Parry now says that he doesn't know if the person is a Republican, but that doesn't take away from the fact that there is a source.

Perhaps Reid shouldn't have gone to the press with the suspicious claim of an anonymous source, but, again, the point of this is to keep the story going.

Maybe the person is right, maybe not. But we won't know until the returns are made public.

The ball is still in Romney's court. He's the one this is all about.

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  • And today we discover that the Rmoney campaign required any and all potential VP candidates to submit "several years" worth of taz returns as part of their vetting process...Yet Rmoney still adamantly refuses to be bound by his own standard...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:47 AM  

  • I don't think it is at all reasonable to suggest that Reid is just making up the claim. That would be pathological, and there is no evidence of this in his background. Also, Reid (like everyone in Congress) moves in the social circles of people like the one he is quoting. His claim is perfectly credible.

    Romney has only made matters worse with his responses. He claims to pay a lot in taxes, but never in federal taxes. He claims that he never paid zero taxes but never that he paid almost zero or less than zero. In fact, he has never claimed that he has never paid less than the 13.9% he paid in 2010.

    This all makes me think that Reid's source is likely correct.

    By Anonymous Frankly Curious, at 12:33 PM  

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