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. Myviewis

    How about Harry Reid and Axelrod release their taxes for the last 10 years to us to examine and Romney do the same?

    August 6, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. CrisMN

    So easy to put it to rest: Show the frigging tax returns!!!!!

    August 6, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. bb

    As far as put up or shut up but HARRY RIED ON THE LIE DETECTOR BOX

    August 6, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. ghostriter

    I think republicans lead the league in half true, mostly false, false, pants on fire and lying thru their darned teeth rankings via politifact and the like.

    August 6, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. 93 Days until Obama is RE-ELECTED

    The Republicant name calling continues unabated. Since the Repugs seem to be able to handily dish it out, but not take it at all, it would behoove Mr. Reid to ante-up the pot and call out Willard, the RNC and that half-baked Prius to PRODUCE ROMNEY'S TAXES. Time to fess up Mittens, so we all know how much you didn't pay in income taxes for the last 10 yrs. While it's probably legal to take deductions on your horse, those returns will swiftly show the American people how the US Tax code is very much slanted in favor of the 1% (at Mittens is up there on the list).

    August 6, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. madmaxxmad

    It doesn't matter if Harry is wrong or not. Fact is its just a redirect. Mitt and Mitts companies have produced more taxes for the government than, lets say I have. So his personal income tax is irrelevant. Harry Reid if you re-read his words all the time, and what he said about his dad, he is just an angry little man

    August 6, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens cannot disprove his failure to pay American taxes, explain his $100 million in an IRA, his low rate when he did have to pay in, his $77,000 medical deduction for Dressage, his lack of records as governor, the shredded payiuts to his cronies in the Salt Lake olympics, his retroactive retirement from Bain, his foreign investors, and his foreign campaign donors. All in all, just another day in the life of a plutocrat.

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


    August 6, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. 93 Days until Obama is RE-ELECTED

    @Myviewis – How about Harry Reid and Axelrod release their taxes for the last 10 years to us to examine and Romney do the same?
    How about you release your tax returns for the last 10 yrs for us to examine?? It's about as relevant as your statement above. You are slipping dude.. must be a real bad Monday for ya ?

    August 6, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    After investing over $700 million on Mittens' campaign so far, it has to be hard for the Kochs, Rove and Adelson to admit they are wrong, and Mittens should quit and go yachting.

    August 6, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. Governor 47th In Job Creation (Excluding Off-shored to China and India)

    bb hilariously wrote: "As much time as the dems have spent on MR NEXT PRESIDENTS taxes insults they could of (sic)created some jobs.. I want a successful person in the Whitehouse not some ninny wimp."

    1. The party that ran on Jobs jobs jobs in 2010 has legislated against women's rights, renaming post offices, and get 98% of what they wanted in downgrading our nation's credit. Instead of passing a jobs bill where the President did their homework for them in creating a jobs bill including multiple provisions that have been embraced by GOTPers in prior times (kind of like Healthcare, see Heritage Foundation re: individual mandate, but I digress.....) they decided against it - those PO's aren't going to name themselves, junior.
    2. Wimp. See Willard Romney + Newsweek in google. The wimp won't release his taxes. Too wimpy to reveal that he has too much dirt that would annoy independents, Democrats, and gotpers simultaneously with his non-paying, plus his Chinese, Iranian, and abortion friendly investments.
    He's done. GOP really ran nothing but clowns in this election: Cain, Perry, Bachmann, Santoorum, and the wimpy tax dodging father of the ACA. Nice picking.

    August 6, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens needs to "Put up or shut up."

    August 6, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. carrborian

    there are other people in the worldd besides reid's source who know about romney's taxes. we are going to find out one way or another before november.

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

    Right.........................well 1 thing is true if the repuks say it's a LIE, it is most assuredly the TRUTH. They (repuks) could never tell the truth about anything, EVER.

    August 6, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Charles

    Romney, dont blame anyone, just show your taxes. Americans are not stupid.

    August 6, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. demogoat

    Mitt and Ann have given you people all your going to get. In return the people will give Mitt and Ann a pass. Have you ever seen 2 people that are so unlike the rest of us? They look so uncomfortable pandering to the middle class voters. So many lies and distortions, and when you play their game they cry fowl. So sad that the GOP couldn't come up with a contender.

    August 6, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. v_mag

    Here are the main arguments and answers on this subject:

    1. Romney's done all he has to under the law. Answer: He hasn't followed custom, and the voters demand that he release his returns if he wants to earn their vote. It's not a matter of obeying the law. It's a matter of transparency and trust.
    2. Romney paid all the taxes he owed, and there is no proof otherwise. Answer: Maybe, but how do we know that if he refuses to show his returns? His refusal smacks of secrets in the returns. He's asking for voters to believe him and denying them the information they need to make a judgement on his honesty and fitness.
    3. It's his money, and he can do what he wants with it. Answer: If he is doing un-American things with his money, even if they are technically legal, he shouldn't be running for president. For the voters to determine that, he must show his returns.
    4. If he were not paying his taxes, the IRS would have investigated. Answer: He may be technically paying what he owes and still not paying his fair share. Everyone suspects that Romney is taking advantage of loopholes only available to the super rich, and that demonstrates how out of touch he is with the middle class taxpayers who are subsidizing him and his kind.
    5. Harry Reid (or, you fill in the blank with some Democrat's name) is not showing his (tax returns, birth certificate, school transcripts, social security card, or whatever). Answer: Why should that stop Romney from following the customary and tax payer required showing of his tax returns? He is the one seeking the presidency, after all.

    August 6, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. bb

    Remember you didnt build it and the private sector is fine.. So im sure he isnt lying about this either, come on dems u really cant be that stupid keep your on the balll THAT WOULD THE ECONOMY OR OBLUNDERS FAILURE AS A LEADER

    August 6, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. BLKMANinAmerica

    To madmaxxmad................em WHAT, so I take it that you are aware of the 'taxes' paid by "Mitts companies"? And trust even if what your stating is true (it's not) he (Romney) if he gained any 'income' he Romney should pay taxes on that 'income'. WOW, now repuks have speical laws on taxes also? REALLY?

    August 6, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. Four and The Door

    This whole thing is just Democrats grasping for straws on an attempt to divert the conversation away from the economy, jobs, Obama/ Biden's 2009 – 2012 performance and the national debt. They see the election slipping away...

    August 6, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. Myviewis


    So easy to put it to rest: Show the frigging tax returns!!!!!

    Why should Romney have to show you his tax returns? What would you do with such info? How would you know what you're looking at? This is just Obama distracting voters from his bad job.

    August 6, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. FirstPrinciples

    It's disingenuous to respond even to speculation by angry denials. You have the power to set the record straight by producing the empirical evidence.

    Here senator Reid's source is a credible Bain insider. Please stop the denials. The senator is owed a big apology from Romney's camp. Either apologize or produce the taxes. Loud yelling is digging a deeper hole. Let's all at least agree with that.

    August 6, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. Mitt Romney

    I dance, my horse dances, and I don't release the taxes because I'm dancing all over your Grand Old Party. Aren't you sorry you chose me? Doesn't Herman Cain look good all of a sudden?

    August 6, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. Eyong Ebot

    Romney is afraid to loose support of his party before the convention. A new republican nominee might emerge. So the best deal is to refuse releasing his taxes until after the Convention. If he does it will be a disaster!!!

    August 6, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Myviewis wrote:

    This is really sad that Axelrod has lost it in his desperation to help President Obama win re-election.
    You should know. You're the resident expert on desparate comments.

    August 6, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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