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Dems Leave Reid Out to Dry on Tax Accusations

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid continues to accuse Mitt Romney of ducking taxes for 10 years without a hint of evidence. This morning, Reid released a statement about the “controversy” (that he created) insisting that his “source” (who he refuses to name) is “extremely credible”:

There is a controversy because the Republican presidential nominee, Governor Mitt Romney, refuses to release his tax returns. As I said before, I was told by an extremely credible source that Romney has not paid taxes for ten years. People who make as much money as Mitt Romney have many tricks at their disposal to avoid paying taxes. We already know that Romney has exploited many of these loopholes, stashing his money in secret, overseas accounts in places like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. …

It’s clear Romney is hiding something, and the American people deserve to know what it is. Whatever Romney’s hiding probably speaks volumes about how he would approach issues that directly impact middle-class families, like tax reform and the economy. When you are running for president, you should be an open book.

If Reid thought his accusations would result in another media outcry for Romney’s tax returns, he made the wrong bet. Instead the media seems to be primarily interested in chronicling Reid’s bizarre outbursts. Who can focus on tax returns when the Senate Majority Leader appears to be on the brink of a self-inflicted meltdown?

At HotAir, Ed Morrissey rakes Reid over the coals and points out that he’s only undermining his own party’s efforts to attack Romney’s lack of transparency:

Reid, who also refuses to release his own tax returns, isn’t just a hypocrite and a slanderer.  He’s also a political idiot.  Until these attacks, Romney was on the defensive over his tax returns.  Now Romney can paint his decision to keep them private as a principled stand against unscrupulous opponents.  Reid has handed the high ground to Romney in this fight with his scurrilous lies.  Reid has all but ruined Obama’s strategy of making Romney look secretive and weird.

That’s a good point. Reid does seem to be freelancing on this one. Have any Democratic leaders come out to back up his charges yet? Where’s the DNC and the Obama campaign on this? The most forceful defense of Reid appears to have come from Sen. Charles Schumer, and even that was pretty tepid:

Schumer said the Reid attacks are politically effective for Democrats and urged Romney to release more of his tax returns, suggesting Democrats will not back away from the aggressive campaigning.

“Everyday Mitt Romney has to talk about tax returns is a bad day for him and a good day for Democrats. You know they’re trying to focus this on Harry Reid, there’s an 800 pound elephant in the room, It’s called ‘unreleased taxes,’” Schumer said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Reid’s backed himself into a corner here. If he drops the issue, it’ll gives the GOP a perfect bludgeon against the Obama campaign’s future attempts to get Romney to release his tax returns. They can just point out that Democrats have flung absurd charges at Romney without substantiating them. If Reid continues to push the issue, he’ll only open himself up to more scrutiny over his sources.