August 6th, 2012
03:24 PM ET
2 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. Brenam

    Harry Reid history of eithics issues is long. Look a the real estate scandals he has been involved with over the years and it laughable he is trying to accuse anyone of anything.

    But I did hear Reid accosted his best friends underage grandchild from an excellent source...

    August 6, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. DRAKE MALLARD

    show your taxes romney and your birth certificate

    August 6, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. Mitt Romney

    I own the GOP now, and they dance like my horse, to my tune. I don't HAVE to release jack. You can't dump me this late, and I don't even have a credible VP on the horizon. Kiss my rafalca, my friends, and keep the donations coming.

    August 6, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. DFW Dann

    Reid's allegations about Romney not paying taxes are unsubstantiated. Romney's allegations that "I paid a lot of taxes" is unsubstantiated. The best way to put this to rest is to go to the source and have Romney release his returns. Until then this is just a lover's conversation on the telephone with each one telling the other "no, you hang up first."

    August 6, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. Harry Reid

    "But I did hear Reid accosted his best friends underage grandchild from an excellent source..."

    I can show you my clean arrest record, and have my best friend deny those charges. Mitt can't deny anything.

    August 6, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Rupert Murdoch = Josef Goebbels

    Looks like Romney's business success was only possible because he cheats on his taxes.

    He might not be so "good" for the economy, after all.

    August 6, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe Out-sourcing-Jobs Outsourcing-his-Money and Outsourcing America

    LOL!!!

    mitt robme...I got some change to spare you at kinkos if you've already parked all your remaining last cent in the CAYMEN ISLAND!!...free TAX MONEY from me let's go to KINKOS right now and make photocopies of ALL 23YRS OF TAX RETURNS you showed to JOHN MCCAIN!!!

    mitt robme – You PUT UP right NOW and SHUT UP Harry Reid!...I DARE YOU MITT ROBME RELEASE YOUR TAX RETURNS on my DIME!!!!! loooool

    August 6, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. BlkPwr817

    GOP doesn't believe that the rules & regulations apply to them. Somehow they feel as if they're above the law. As you see they try to paint Obama as if he's not "origianl" One of "us" as they like to say. This guy is hiding somthing in his tax report. Romney is a crook & should be investigated for fraud. OBAMA 2012 you fools...

    August 6, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. Sniffit

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

    Their tax returns are not at issue. Try to stay focused....I know it's hard an all with the tinfoil hats causing all you GOPers/Teatrolls to engage in so much tangential magic thinking, but really, the name of the game is RELEVANCE. Besides, if you really want to get into the issue of what might be hypocritical here, all we have to do is point out that if it was Obama refusing to release atx returns, the GOP/Teatrolls would be apoplectic over it and it would likely be used as an excuse to "re-open" the birther nonsense and the accusations that he's a muslim, not American, not "one of us" etc. As it is, Mittens' capmpaign uses those dogwhistles enoguh already, but if Obama was refusing to release tax returns, there'd be non-stop right winger hissy fits over it....real foaming-at-the-mouth angry ranting, with places like Faux Noise, Red State, World Net Daily and Limbaugh and Beck leading the rants. Mittens needs to man up and, truly, it's time for his supporters to stop making excuses, put up and shut up.

    August 6, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. John Smith

    Whoever wrote this really misunderstands who David Axelrod is and where he came from. He was director of Mario Cuomo's health policy in the eighties. His response to the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic? Heart disease was a more important threat to the State of New York, and he recommended gutting any budget sent to the Governor's desk that included funding for HIV/AIDS treatment or prevention. Mr. Axelrod's whole methodology is, avoid controversy, and when you run into it, find a negotiated solution that defuses the controversy. Looked at that way, you see how Obama's whole governing style is David Axelrod to a tee. Negotiation after negotiation after negotiation. The idea that he would *invent* a controversy is just totally against everything I've seen from him so far.

    August 6, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Andy in Minneapolis

    Oh for goodness sake! The call for Romney to release additional years of tax returns goes all the way back to the republican primaries. We need to accept the fact that Romney is most likely not going to release the additional taxes. Let's all just move on with our lives. Shame on Romney for not following in his father's foot steps and for not being as transparent with taxes as he has demanded from his opponents in the past and shame on Reid for opening his mouth and not being willing or arguable able to prove his claim. The longer this drags out the more certain I become these tactics will cause Romney to release additional years of taxes, Obama's re-elaction campaign and other democrats have to realize this at well which makes me think the desired outcome is not the release of additional taxes rather an attack on Romney's lack of transparency, which seems to be working. The only way for Romney to put this issue to bed is to release the additional years of tax returns. If it hasn't gone away in the year plus since the republican primaries began, it's not going to go away in the three months to the general election.

    August 6, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. Hammerer

    I like the left's reasoning.
    So, the reason Obama has his college records sealed is because he has something to hide! Unseal your records and prove that you have nothing to hide.

    August 6, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Michigan patriot

    Mitt Romney doesn't have to prove anything. Reid has to prove what he said its true. But like we all know he loves to have imaginary friends. This poor man needs to be examined and put where he belongs, away from Congress. Where are his taxes? Axelrod is another weasel, he is full of hate, and he'll try anything to get his boss reelected. The good will triumph over the bad, these people have to go, they have ruined our country enough.

    August 6, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Republicans should avoid the word "ethics" until Romney releases his tax returns. The fact that that's even an issue is a shameful political scandal. If he wants that kind of privacy, he should get out of public life. This a democracy, no royal privileges here.

    August 6, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Pete

    @Brenam,I also heard from a relieable source you're a pretty nice cross dresser,checken out your buddies wives panties ha!!

    August 6, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. Ann

    Axelrod is a notorious liar. Remember the 2008 attacks against Hilary? Chicago style politics.

    August 6, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. bowlkoff

    Anyone running for any office should have no problem releasing past tax records.

    August 6, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. n

    Show America your taxes. It is just that simple. Why is it so hard to do. Romney want the american people to consider him for president only on his terms. No Romney, you want our vote, show your taxes already.

    August 6, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. v_mag

    "Because I said so" is not a good reason to refuse to release tax returns, Mittler.

    August 6, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. BostonianNTheWoodlandsTX

    I don't know who looks more ignorant and stupid..........

    The SAME republicans who have whined and complained over President Obamas birth certificate. Or their equally braindead followers who cry and shriek even louder. Both crying foul over romneys tax returns being put in the spotlight.

    Niether able to see the CLEAR irony of the siuation.

    Amazing.

    August 6, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. USN-Ret

    Scandals in American Politics !?!?!? why whoever heard of such a thing ?

    August 6, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. sonny chapman

    Repubs. don't like it when Dems. punch back.

    August 6, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. NotFooledByDistractions

    They should all be looking to romney – he's the source of the problem and the only one that can resolve it. Release the tax returns willard.

    August 6, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. USN-Ret

    "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." LOL, it's so sad it's become comical.

    August 6, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. Toby McDooogan

    What a slummy d-bag. The dems can't run on their record so they must lie and slander to diver focus from the economy and Obama being a poor leader.

    August 6, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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