August 6th, 2012
03:24 PM ET
6 years ago

Republicans point to Axelrod as Reid-Romney feud deepens

Washington (CNN) - Republicans on Monday stepped up attempts to undermine Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's unsubstantiated allegations that Mitt Romney went 10 years without paying taxes, saying Reid and other Democrats' accusations are being orchestrated by President Barack Obama's campaign – specifically his senior campaign adviser David Axelrod.

To that end, Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer noted that Axelrod visited Senate Democrats for their weekly lunch last Tuesday. Later that afternoon the Huffington Post story published with Reid's allegations about the presumptive GOP nominee not paying any taxes.

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"You've got to wonder if the so-called source is Axelrod himself," Spicer told CNN. "Hours after meeting with Axelrod, Reid comes out and makes baseless accusations?"

Axelrod flatly denied that allegation, calling it "completely false" and saying he "never had any such discussion."

"Instead of pointing fingers in every direction, they can put the whole matter to rest by simply observing the standard George Romney and a generation of candidates have set by releasing the returns," Axelrod told CNN.

In a separate article posted Monday, the Huffington Post wrote that they interviewed Reid days before Axelrod's visit, making any influence from the top Obama official's Capitol Hill visit impossible.

Reid himself remarked on the dust-up Monday in Nevada, telling reporters the dust-up could be solved by Romney simply releasing his tax information.

"This whole issue is not about me," Reid said. "Mitt Romney's the first presidential candidate since his dad ran not to release his income tax returns. He's released one income tax return and that points toward the Bahamas, Switzerland, and a few other foreign countries. This whole controversy will end very quickly if he releases his income tax returns, like everybody else has done."

Romney has released his tax return from 2010, and an estimate from 2011. He has vowed to release his full 2011 return once it's completed.

Multiple Democratic sources insist Reid made the allegations against Romney on his own, but also admit the Obama campaign is not telling Reid to back off.

Meanwhile, Reid's chief of staff David Krone insisted Monday, again, that he knows who Reid's source is – and that the source is credible.

"I know who this person is, and if I thought this person was not credible, I would say something to Senator Reid. I would try to shut it down. This person is credible," Krone said.

"This person has asked Reid to protect the confidentiality of this person, but it's real," he continued. "This person told him this. This person said it to Senator Reid."

Romney himself pushed back against Reid's accusations twice last week, telling the majority leader to either "put up or shut up" and calling the reports false. Republicans, including RNC Chairmen Reince Priebus, backed up the presumptive GOP nominee Sunday morning on news shows.

"I'm not going to respond to a dirty liar who hasn't filed a single page of tax returns himself (and) complains about people with money but lives in the Ritz-Carlton here down the street," Priebus said on ABC News. "And the fact that we're going to spend any time talking about it is ridiculous."

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina also came out against Reid's statements, saying the majority leader was "making things up."

"What he did on the floor of the Senate is so out of bounds. I think he's lying about his statement, of knowing something about Romney," Graham said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 • David Axelrod • Harry Reid • Mitt Romney • RNC
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. Donkey Party

    How could America even think about voting for a serial liar, draft and tax dodger like Willard Romney? It is so obvious Romney is hiding something serious enough to derail his pathetic campaign.

    August 6, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. will never vote Republician again

    Romney would the the WORSE president. No solid core in this guy. No values, no nothing but the almighty dollar. He's like a straw man but stuffed with cash.

    August 6, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Larry L

    Just show the returns and make all of the Democrats look bad... You can rub their noses in it... Or show the returns and prove Romney to be a dishonest, unethical fat-cat who will defend loopholes for only the ultra-rich while the middle-class pays their fair share. This is easy for Romney to fix... unless he's guilty. It seems like such an easy choice for an honest man.

    August 6, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. will never vote Republician again

    If Reid is "making it up". Prove it! Oh, you can't because Romney is a cheat!

    August 6, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. JP

    A lying tongue is an Abomination

    August 6, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. Bob

    Hurt dog hollers, little Repubs....

    So prove Harry wrong... post those tax returns.....

    Can't do it?

    Then the story MUST be true.

    August 6, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. Bill

    The Obama campaigh has sucessfully defined Romeny. This is not what you want happening in any election. When the chairman of the RNC is talking about Romney's taxes, then your strategy has succeeded. At this point, it would behoove Romney to release then while he still has time to recover. I note that the RealClear margin nationwide for Obama has now increased to 3.4%, almost outside the margin or error. And Obama leads in all of the swings states – some way outside the margin, e.g PA 11%, MI 6%, OH 4.8%, NV 5.6%, etc. Romeny needs a new set of advisors.

    August 6, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    Hey, GOPers. This is getting nonsensical to the max. Either Romney is hiding something or he isn't. The only way to know is to release a few years tax records ... especially the past years he's been running for President.

    What's good for John McCain to see is good for all America to see.

    Fact of the matter is, Mitt Romney is an awful candidate. He'd make an even more awful President.

    August 6, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Governor 47th In Job Creation (Excluding Off-shored to China and India)

    Republican are crying a lot. Little Reinhold Rinse Pree-bus needs to get his robot Willard to prove to us that Harry is a liar, go ahead, make his day. Bishop Willard can put it to rest by showing the returns. Put up or shut up; stop crying at the very least.
    Feel free to file a slander suit Willard. If not, then show us your papers.

    August 6, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. rs

    1. Mr. Romney has a history of using his opponents' tax returns as a campaign tool. If they reveal their tax returns, he declares problems in spuses returns.
    2. Mr. Romney never reveals his tax returns.
    3. Mr. Romney has had some difficulty with the truth abourt his past- including when he ran Bain Capital.

    Ergo- A man who wishes to be President, who is a proven liar, who has mis-stated facts about his political opponents, and who belongs to the birther party really has no leg to stand on when his own sleazy campaign ploy gets used on him.

    August 6, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Sam

    Sure! Why not? Everything else is Obama's fault!

    August 6, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. Patriot Awesome

    This is some awesome birth certificate payback. They can dish it out, but can't take it.

    August 6, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. BeverlyNC

    All this shows is the desperation of the Republican Party to take the focus off of Romney's "something to hide" opinions the People are feeling about Romney right now. Harry Reid is a good and decent man and would never make such a statement if he did not know what he was saying was accurate. Reid is also not the first person to make the same allegation. Several tax experts say that is most likely what it is or it could even be Romney never disclosed all his hidden money around the world and that is a felony. If Romney has nothing to hide, he would release his returns and prove all his accusers wrong. Since he still refuses – it only proves to the American People he cannot be trusted. I stand with Harry Reid. With Romney's history of lies, misinformation, and still not telling us where he stands on any issue for what he is even FOR – I cannot take Romney seriously as a credible candidate. "Put up or shut up" should be what is said to Romney and the Republicans. All the money in the world cannot buy Romney character and integrity or our votes in someone we do not trust.

    August 6, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. cali girl

    All Robmey has to do is show the tax returns. Easy as that. Except one thing. Robmey can't release them because he has something to HIDE. Such a loser.

    August 6, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. anotherGDlefty

    Maybe they should be pointing to Messiah Mitt for NOT releasing them in the first place.

    Like Mitt said.....PUT UP OR SHUT UP. C'mon Mitt, follow your own advice.

    August 6, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    I love watching GOPers/Teatrolls cry bitterly when their own tactics are finally used against them. The IOKIYAR is hip-deep up in here. Seriously...the GOPers/Teatrolls have been using "a little bird told me" political accusations for YEARS. Remeber, pantwetters, Reid is telling the truth even if the person who told it to him was lying....all he ever said was that someone told him Mittens hasn't paid taxes for 10 years. Don't like it? Cry more.


    August 6, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. Gonna

    All Romney has to do is supply tax returns. Its really very simple unless he is hiding something? Hmmm

    August 6, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. Carole Basilicato

    I personally think and so do others that Obama and Axelrod don't want the military vote counted because they know they most probably wouldn't vote for Obama because he does not in my opinion have respect for the military. He did that the first time the military vote was not in on time. I think this is going to hurt his chances. People are getting tired of the way the military is treated. Please let the military vote on time.

    August 6, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. Woman In California

    This person is credible," Krone said.

    You bet he IS and Willard knows it. Harry Reid is no fool and knows he's got something REAL here. It's just a matter of time before this story breaks WIDE OPEN and this idiot Willard is exposed for the unAmerican, draft dodging liar he really is. Mark my words: the presses are going to read WILLARD ROMNEY EXPOSED. Remember you heard it here first.

    August 6, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    Meanwhile, Mittens' campaign is busy spreading the biggest, most provably false lie of the campaign by claiming taht Obama's suit in Ohio is trying to take away special voting privileges for veterans and servicemen/women. It's quite blatantly not, because the paperwork literally says it's not. In fact, the only point of the suit is to expand the early voting rights, because the Ohio GOP/Teatrolls took them away from everyone and then only gave them back to service members on th etheory that it would get rid of more Dem voters than GOP/Teatroll voters. What's really going on is that Obama is trying to defend the right to vote and the GOP/Teatrolls/Mittens campaign are desperately DESPERATELY trying to defend suppressing as many voters as possible.

    August 6, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. The Shepard

    Scary how Axelrod looks like Hitler incarnate

    August 6, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. Critical Thinking

    It's McCarthyism tactics 2012 version. The old, I know someone who knows someone. You just need to look at our legal system to gain an understanding of the value they put on here say information, namely; ZERO. If you say it, you own it and you need to prove it.

    August 6, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. John

    The AMerican people will not allow Mitt to not show his either he does it, or his popularity will continue to plummet......100 million $ month won't cover up all of his is like putting lipstick on a pig............

    August 6, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. I Know Who The Source Is

    I guess Republicans just can't seem to practice what they preach. Do you think you can just go around blaming people for things without any proof? You're blaming Obama by way of Alexrod by way of Reid just because a few guys had some lunch together. Wow, you guys have a truly dizzying intellect. Did you all get together for lunch and make that up?

    Hey, I happen to know who the source is too that spoke to Reid. It's certainly not Axelrod by way of Obama or anyone else. I can vouch for this extremely credible source.

    Romney has not paid taxes for several years, and he has a lot to hide. It's a fact.

    August 6, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    "I'm not going to respond to a dirty liar who hasn't filed a single page of tax returns himself ....."
    Mr. Priebus is viewed by many on the right as one who consistently makes exaggerated, misleading and arguably false statements on a regular basis. Mr. Priebus has released how many of his own tax returns to the public?

    August 6, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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