Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s chief of staff, David Krone, attacked two Republican leaders Sunday night for having the nerve to stick up for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in his tax conflict with Reid.
“They’re a bunch of cowards, and they’re avoiding the issue,” Krone told Politico, speaking of Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
“They’re a bunch of henchmen for Romney, and they’re all reading off the same talking points. They couldn’t hold a candle to Harry Reid.”
Republicans are upset that Reid accused Romney last week of failing to pay taxes for a decade. The senator says it was an investor in Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney co-founded, who gave him the information. But Reid refuses to reveal the investor’s identity.
Infuriating Republicans is the fact that while Reid is closely guarding this secret and won’t disclose his own tax information, he’s demanding that Romney reveal more of his tax returns. The candidate already released his tax information for 2010 and 2011.
Top GOP officials took it to Reid on talk shows Sunday. “I’m not going to respond to a dirty liar who hasn’t filed a single page of tax returns himself,” Priebus said on ABC’s “This Week” program. “He complains about people with money, but lives in the Ritz Carlton here down the street.” That’s where Reid stays when he is in Washington, D.C.
Graham didn’t hold back either. “I think he’s making things up,” the senator said of Reid on CNN’s “State of the Union” show. “I just cannot believe that the majority leader of the United States Senate would take the floor twice, make accusations that are absolutely unfounded, and quite frankly making things up to divert the campaign away from the real issues.”
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, head of the Republican Governors Association, echoed his GOP brethren, calling Reid’s accusation a “reckless and slanderous charge” on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Not surprisingly, Krone didn’t take the criticism well. “What Harry Reid said is the fact of what he was told. To turn it around, all their childish rants this weekend about calling Reid a ‘liar’ and all that, it just shows you how scared they are that Harry Reid was telling the truth.”
Romney himself told Sean Hannity’s radio show last week said that "it's time for Harry to put up [reveal the Bain source] or shut up,"
Several factors allow Reid to get away with demanding that Romney release more tax data without putting forth any of his own or revealing the alleged Bain investor, according to an analysis in The Washington Post.
First, Reid isn’t running for president, so he doesn’t face the same public pressure to come clean on his personal finances. In addition, Reid isn’t up for re-election until 2016, so no one would expect him to release tax information before then. And he might not run again anyway, as he’ll be 76 then.
Reid gains brownie points with his Democratic colleagues for going after Romney. And given that he’s a much smaller figure than Romney, Reid, to the extent he can get Romney to engage him, pulls the candidate down to his level
“He’s fearless and shameless,” Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston told The Post, referring to Reid. “The most dangerous man is one who does not care.”
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