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. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Here's the issue: Romney has only released the minimum of information. Senators and members of the House release more information because of the disclosure requirements.

    When Romney supporters and other Repbulicans bring up the "hasn't passed a budget" line, it shows that they have nothing really to say. One has nothing to do with the other.

    August 6, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. Polar Bear

    Just me or does Axelrod look creepy?

    August 6, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. Maybe Mitt's hiding that he never worked at Bain.

    Mr Romeny, it would be simple to prove Reid a liar- just release the tax retunrs.


    August 6, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Darryl

    Come on now, Harry Reid is NOT lieing. This Tax issue if it weren't true, the Mr. Romney should have just came up with then in the begining. He knows darn well all the other POTUS have put up allot of Tax Returns, includeing his very own father. But even more than that, People who put money in places like the Camen Islands ect are people who have something to hide. The republicans are really, really mad because they want this to go away, right wawy and fast. Thats why they are so, so mad.

    August 6, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Jerubbaal

    I smell an October surprise.

    August 6, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. FSU1970JRS

    I am sure Mr. Romney would not lie when he says he did not have any year when he paid no taxes. Please remember there are legal (or almost legal) ways to pay no taxes. So the fact that the IRS hasn't caught him is not evidence he has paid taxes. It is interesting that after looking at 20+ years of Romney's returns John McCain chose Sarah Palin in 2008 for his VP pick. That says a lot!!!!! Just release the return and prove Reid is a liar.

    August 6, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |

    These republican attacks are futile. If Willard has nothing to hide, he should release his taxes. I wonder does his campaign realize what jacka$$es they're making out of themselves by attacking Sen. Reid. Attacking him gives his story merit. The accusation can be true or false. That's not the point. Willard and the republicans stepped into a bear trap and got snagged. Team Romney/Rafalca probably thought the tax story will die with his overseas trip and with the Olympics going on. Wrong!!! SHOW US YOUR PAPERS NOW!!!

    August 6, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. bb

    So Oblunder sends Carney out to say reids speaking for himself and axeldorf says he isnt, Its just amazing these clowns cant even get thier lies straight. OBLUNDER KEEP YOUR WORD U said u would cut deficet in half or not run, u said unemp under 6% or wouldnt run MAN UP KEEP YOUR WORD AND SAVE THE COUNTRY JUST QUIT!!!

    August 6, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Durundal

    Let me get this straight, because you dont like that other people said something harsh which could potentially hamstring your campaign, anyone not demand it be left alone is part of some incredibly well oiled conspiracy theory? Conventional wisdom may conclude that politics produces some odd bed fellows from time to time, but when have you ever known agents of the government to perform so efficiently? Methinks the conspiracy theorists need to get a life. And dont get me started about the humorous minting of the lamestream/liberal media. Its like the people who fall for this nonsense really deserve what happens to them

    August 6, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. steve

    Reid hit a nerve with large drill. Romeny can make Reid look like a schmuck if he hasn't anything to hide. Release the taxes, Mitt.

    August 6, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. once upon a horse

    this is all entertaining fodder and finger pointing but one person can put an end to it all! And meanwhile the horse just keeps dancing along

    August 6, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. twodm

    I believe Harry Reid.

    Romney had to decide whether to release his tax returns for the previous 12 years, like his father did, or take the heat for withholding them. He obviously thinks there is less downside to withholding his returns. What does that tell you about what is contained in those tax returns. They must be very very damaging.

    This issue is not going away.

    August 6, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. twodm

    "I paid taxes. Lots of taxes". So says Mr Romney in response to Sen Reid. And of course Mr Romney is correct. Real estate taxes on his many homes, sales taxes on his many Cadillacs, boats and other toys, and lots of those pesky fees in Massachusetts which really, you know, are taxes.
    Romney uses very sloppy language with great precision and he was very careful not to refer to income taxes.
    But we already know he is a man whose words can not be trusted.

    August 6, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Frankie

    Dana Bash confirmed this story already.

    August 6, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. Wake up people

    Who cares where the story came from? The point is why Willard won't do the same thing every other candidate has? Stop spitting in the wind then saying it's raining. It's as simple as this, the rethuglican/ bagger party convinced a huge portion of America that our American born president is foreign. He was hammered in the press daily for 3 years until he released his birth certificate, but you whine because people want to see something all other candidates provide? No the people don't trust Willard and they shouldn't.

    OBAMA 2012!

    August 6, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. bb

    As much time as the dems have spent on MR NEXT PRESIDENTS taxes insults they could of created some jobs.. I want a successful person in the Whitehouse not some ninny wimp. Success is not a dirty word, profit is not a dirty word, Welafare is a dirty word why do the dems keep trying to surpress minorities ??? Let them make a profit and enjoy the American dream also. Just go to work, budget yourself and u can get ahead. It is a great feeling buying something u pay for instead of looking for a handout or loan. The sooner we get the excuse makers out of office then we can move forward. HOPE AND CHANGED well oblunder we hoped and u changed for the worse!!!

    August 6, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. Mitt Romney

    I was actually born in Mexico, and as a matter of fact, I haven't paid taxes in a long time. So what? You gonna run Herman Cain instead of me? Ha ha ha ha. You're stuck with me, and I love it.

    August 6, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Scary how Axelrod looks like Hitler incarnate"

    Scary how you think that's an appropriate comment...and how the imbeciles moderating even let it through the filter. You cranky? Need your diapey changey-wangied? Awwwwww, baby needs his baba.....

    August 6, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "I smell an October surprise."

    Sorry, but that's the horsesh-t Mittens is shoveling over his tax returns to cover them up.

    August 6, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  20. Myviewis

    This is really sad that Axelrod has lost it in his desperation to help President Obama win re-election. I knew Axelrod looked sick, his eyes have been looking borderline nervous breakdown but I figured it was just that he's getting older but now I think my instincts were correct and Axelrod is just loosing it. Poor guy and Harry Reid is not helping matters, he's back to his old dirty tricks so of course he wants to add fuel to Axelrod's desperation. Not very nice of Reid to play Axelrod's stress like this.

    August 6, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. FSU1970JRS

    Bill O'Reilly of Fox News says Romney is telling the truth and Harry Reid is lying. What more authoritative source could you want if you are a Republican. How about Glenn Beck. Oh well I will just have to trust my nose and something stinks.

    August 6, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. Myviewis


    Dana Bash confirmed this story already.

    Oh I missed it, Dana Bash has evidence that Romney didn't pay his taxes? Did she contact the IRS with her evidence? How come I didn't see the article on CNN about Dana Bash investigative work? That stinks. I missed it!!!!!!!!!

    August 6, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  23. California Gary

    I just love watching those clips of Romney in past campaigns saying "if my opponent doesn't release their returns, they must have something to hide"........if this is such a "dirty" tactic, then Romney can blame himself.......he invented it. Finally, the GOP is having a lot of their tactics from past campaigns turned around and used on them......and listen to them squeal. It is great entertainment!

    August 6, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. Governor 47th In Job Creation (Excluding Off-shored to China and India)

    Hey Willard, put up a $10,000 bet with Harry that he's wrong and prove it by way of releasing 12 years worth of returns.
    What's the matter Willard, scared that Harry has just as deep ties to the LDS church as you do and is probably not bluffing? Stop being a wimp and release the papers already: remember your dad's words: one year can be a fluke (in Willard's case, an incomplete year at that). Man up Bishop, show us your papers.

    August 6, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. bb

    Well how cant u believe Reid he has done so well with Nevdas unemp. I dont care if Rommey shows his taxes or not, at least he can make a profit which is a heck of a lot more than Oblunder. This is just another dem sideshow to get off the issues. Just admitt it OBLUNDER IS A FAILURE if u dont see it, then u r blind. For the sake of U.S. Oblunder work on the economy how much money has your wife spent for us???? OBLUNDER THE LIAR BIDEN, THE BOZO I am personelly sick of these 2 clowns talk about empty shoes there they are.

    August 6, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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