This Forum commented earlier how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took a page from the Republican Party playbook and set out a rather nasty attack on Mitt Romney. Mr. Reid charged that an unknown source had told him Mitt had not paid any income taxes in the past 10 years.
Now as we noted, such a claim was not likely to be true, since Mitt would have had some ordinary income which would have generated a tax liability. But the neat thing here was that if Mr. Romney were going to refute Mr. Reid and embarrass him, he would have to release his tax returns. And this is something Mr. Romney simply does not want to do. So Mr. Reid has put the onus on Mr. Romney to disprove Mr. Reid’s assertion.
The best thing Mr. Romney could do in this situation is to ignore it. Quite frankly nobody pays any attention to Harry Reid at the best of times, much less in the middle of the summer Olympics. But Mitt cannot leave something like this alone, he's just not that politically savvy enough, so he challenged Mr. Reid to back up his accusations.
For days, Reid has been claiming that Romney paid no taxes for 10 years, saying a Bain investor and others told him so. Romney called the accusation “totally and completely wrong” and accused the White House of orchestrating the attack.
“Harry’s going to have to describe who it is he spoke with because of course that’s totally and completely wrong,” he said. “It’s untrue, dishonest and inaccurate. It’s wrong. So I’m looking forward to have Harry reveal his sources, and we’ll probably find out it’s the White House.”
All this does of course is allow Mr. Reid to send the ball back into Mr. Romney’s court with the very obvious point that only by releasing his tax returns can Mr. Romney discredit Mr. Reid.
We noted yesterday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told The Huffington Post that what he claimed was a Bain Capital investor had called him to say Mitt Romney didn't pay taxes for 10 years — without saying who told him this, or what basis there was for the claim.
Earlier today, he doubled down on the unsubstantiated claim with reporters in
"I am not basing this on some figment of my imagination," Reid said in a telephone call with
reporters. "I have had a number of people tell me that." Nevada
Asked to elaborate on his sources, Reid declined. "No, that's the best you're going to get from me."
"I don't think the burden should be on me," Reid said. "The burden should be on him. He's the one I've alleged has not paid any taxes. Why didn't he release his tax returns?"
And until Mr. Romney does that Mr. Reid’s unsupported and probably erroneous charges will stand unchallenged.
Serve to you Mitt, return the ball whenever you are ready, but try not to just lob it back for an easy slam.