9:24 am Aug. 6, 2012
If the Sunday shows are any indication, Harry Reid's mysteriously sourced tax accusations against Mitt Romney are working.
Last month, Democrats waged a coordinated campaign to pressure Romney into releasing more tax returns, but the issue was eventually overtaken by coverage of Romney's foreign trip.
Reid put the issue back in the news—right around the time Romney returned—by claiming he had heard from a Bain Capital investor that Romney didn't pay any taxes for ten years.
Republicans expressed outrage.
"I’m not going to respond to a dirty liar who hasn’t filed a single page of tax returns himself, complains about people with money but lives in the Ritz Carlton here down the street,” said Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, on ABC's "This Week."
(Reid, who is very apparently immune to Republican shaming, and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi have both resisted calls to release their own returns, even as they call for Romney's, saying they would release theirs if they were running for president.)
Priebus called it "a made-up issue, and the fact that we’re going to spend any time talking about it is ridiculous.”
But of course calling the Senate majority leader a "dirty liar" is a response, and won't do anything to make the underlying subject go away.
On CNN's "State of the Union," Lindsey Graham said Reid was "lying" and "making things up," and criticized the majority leader for casting aspersions from the Senate floor.
"I just cannot believe that the majority leader of the United States Senate would take the floor twice, make accusations that are absolutely unfounded, in my view, and quite frankly making things up to divert the campaign away from the real issues," he said.
But Reid's accusations, and Romney's ongoing refusal to reveal his tax information, took precedence over the lukewarm jobs report issued on Friday.
"People don't care about Mitt Romney's tax returns," said Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, hopefully, as he called Reid's charges "reckless and slanderous."
"They care about their own tax returns and the taxes that are going to be increased under President Barack Obama where nearly a million small business people are getting a whopping tax increase. That's the issue in this race."
Democrats, meanwhile, suggested that Romney call Reid's bluff by releasing his tax returns.
"Romney could give us the proof that he has paid taxes consistently," said former Ohio governor Ted Strickland.
And the Obama campaign itself seems content, if not explicitly delighted, to have Reid continue to make the accusation against Romney.
Robert Gibbs, a top adviser to the campaign, resisted repeated attempts from CNN's Candy Crowley to say whether the campaign would like Reid to stop making the claims.
"I don't think anybody controls Harry Reid," said Gibbs, who added that Romney could "go to Kinko's" and and settle the issue once and for all.
"I'll send him the nickels, I think it's a nickel a page," Gibbs said.
It was a new line.
"The visual of Mitt Romney doing his tax copies at Kinko's is kind of throwing me," Crowley said.