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. 93 Days until Obama is RE-ELECTED

    @Myviewis – 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.
    ------------------–
    Why SHOULDN'T Romney have to show his tax returns? Every President in living memory has, so why is he so special. Of course, Obama has had to endure many personal attacks by the right – birther, muslim, kenyan born, etc. So why would you expect us to give Willard a "bye". It won't matter anyway, since his "foot-in-mouth" trip to places East of here has likely made the rest of the world aware of what a huge number of doofus's we have here, it obvious that the American people realize that you can't BUY being elected POTUS, and will vote Obama back in Nov.

    August 6, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Milton K. Wiah

    Mitt became Governor of MA and refused to release his tax return. He won the election. He went through the
    primary refusing again to release his tax return and just under little pressure released one year which revealed
    offshore accounts in almost all the continents. Many of his republic rivals requested the tax to be published
    but with the help of his fox news friends and Rus who said they were attacking free market systems.
    Doesn't this say something about Mitt. If he has nothing to hide, he could have put out his tax returns long ago.
    Even many republicans agree, Sarah Palin foresaw this situation during the primary.
    Democrats shouldn't waiver on this. Let him release his tax returns.

    August 6, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. CrisMN

    Myviewis, that would show who is the dirty liar! After all everybody has to pay taxes, has Mr. Romney used loopholes to avoid paying them? If he did it says books about the morality of a man that is running to be our President! Willl he use that position to protect his interests even more? It is an important question and it should be answered (Mr' Romney's father was very clear on that)!

    August 6, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. v_mag

    Middle class folks have a real problem understanding Mittler not releasing his taxes. We get a loan, we have to show our tax returns. Generally, we're not embarrassed by tax returns. If anything, we might be proud of what we contribute to the country we love. That's what makes the radar go off when Rob-money says he won't show his returns and gives a reason that equates to "because I said so". That's not normal behavior for a guy who wants our vote for president.

    August 6, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. Citizen

    My my Hon. Senator Reid has ruffled republican feathers, hasn’t he? Where was the Republican outrage when Willie Horton “horror” or Swift boat “truth” was conjured up or when birthers and college record seekers were blathering? Lying, cheating (read pregnant chads) and demagoguery have always been a part of Republican playbook. Even if Hon. Senator Reid had stretched the truth, the onus is on Gov. Romney to set the record straight. He will never release his tax records for if he did the “legitimate deductions” that he took is guaranteed to derail his candidacy. Gov. Romney will perform every conceivable gyration short of pleading the Fifth Amendment (in the court of public opinion) when it comes to taxes.

    August 6, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. 93 Days until Obama is RE-ELECTED

    @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.
    --------------------------
    I could care less what Bain paid in taxes. I could care less if Harry is wrong or not. The fact IS that Willard refuses to release his taxes – even if EVERY Presidential candidate in living memory has done so (including Obama). That tells me he's not trustworthy and is hiding something that could hinder his election day chances. That could be anything from paying a VERY low nominal rate to maybe even what you or I pay. It's put up or shut up time Mittens !!

    August 6, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. PaulCat

    Now the tables has turned and the GOP is not use to this. You know what they say if you can't stand the heat.......

    August 6, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    Mitt Romney's history of unethical and Unamerican activity is long. Look at the tax deductions he has taken over the years and it is laughable that he is trying to accuse anyone else of doing something wrong.

    But I did hear from an excellent source that he has a wife in each house, they get surrogates to have their babies.......

    August 6, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. Maxx

    This issue is not going away until Romney releases his taxes or loses the election as a result of not doing so.

    August 6, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  10. Ancient Texan

    Does anyone actually think that if Romney had paid no taxes or cheated on his taxes, the IRS would not have already been right in the middle of massive audits?

    August 6, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    Myviewis

    CrisMN

    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.

    I'll answer all of your foolish questions:
    He is asking us for a job and he will either provide what we want or go join his dancing horse;
    We will decide if he is a liar, a crook or both with the information;
    We don't have to look at them, I assure you there are thousands of willing and able people (R, D and Is), who would be more than willing to look them over in a matter of minutes;
    As far as the president's "bad job" if this is the case, why is Willard working so hard for the first time in his miserable life? Could it be he knows he doesn't stand a chance?

    August 6, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. GL

    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."

    I am putting my money on Reid.

    August 6, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. Independent voter

    tic-toc Romney, you are gonna have to release them one way ot the other..... you might as well do it sooner than later. Your base is still gonna vote for you no matter whats in those returns, too bad its not enough for u to win the election...

    August 6, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. bcm

    Priebus is one of the guys who was keeping the "birther" issue alive as well as asking for proof of Obama's academic record. Looks like republicans can dish it out but can't take it. The longer Romney drags this out by refusing to issue his tax returns, the more Americans are going to wonder what he's trying to hide. What a bunch of hypocrits!

    August 6, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. A Kickin` Donkey

    What is the GOP going to do now that Democrats have mastered their DIRTY TRIcK playbook and can expose Republican candidates for their flaws?

    Glad to see so man champions for Democracy on this blog that are committed to exposeing Republicans attempts at FALSE EQUIVALENCY & OBFUSCATION. Stay focused on Romney and his offshore, secretive bank accounts & the LOW-to-NO tax rates he has paid on income over the last 12 years.

    The issue isn`t Senator Reid. It isn`t David Axelrod. It`s whether a guy making millions of $ per year paid a lower rate than millions of voters making thousands of $ per year. Romney can`t hide behind claims that Mr. Obama is conducting "class warfare" or is "attacking success". Those BOGUS lines won`t work.

    August 6, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Romney is definately hiding something by not releasing his tax information beyond last year. The republican party is counting on the American voters to be stupid and gullible. This may backfire on them this year.

    August 6, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. Jeff in Virginia

    Yet more salacious crap from Dana Bash. Why is this so hard to understand? Reid is NOT running for President, Mitt Romney is.

    Anything to distract.

    August 6, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. GL

    Watching Reid grin and RNC squirm is more entertaining than Colbert or Stewart. The RNC response is most amazing, and puzzling.

    August 6, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. GL

    Ancient Texan

    Does anyone actually think that if Romney had paid no taxes or cheated on his taxes, the IRS would not have already been right in the middle of massive audits?

    -------------------------------------------------
    Not if he did everything by the books. This is about Mitt not paying any taxes while the 99 percent do.

    August 6, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  20. Jeff in Virginia

    Ancient Texan
    Does anyone actually think that if Romney had paid no taxes or cheated on his taxes, the IRS would not have already been right in the middle of massive audits?
    August 6, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |

    –Romney was audited, and he has admitted it.

    August 6, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  21. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    Release your tax returns you lier ,I love it that these Gop bafoons stick their necks out to stick up for a proven lier romney the wimp and have never seen his taxes by taking his word for it ....big mistakes when dealing with a serial lier !!!!

    August 6, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. anthony76

    Doesn't matter. Show us the taxes. Its easy to attack the messenger, but Romney is still the focus. We aren't letting this one go.
    Why? Because if he's in charge of tax legislature and regulation, and he already takes advantage of a very skewed process in favor of the rich, allowing them loopholes to not pay their fair share, then yeah, Romney's taxes should be scrutinized to the highest degree to make sure he doesnt push even more regulations in his favor.
    The fact that he still hasn't released them is the biggest red flag that something is definitely not right, fishy, or downright crooked.

    August 6, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  23. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    I told you Gop train wreck coming in Nov with romney taking down the whole Gop bafoons party down the toilet with him ,se ya !!!!!!!

    August 6, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. Kevin

    Meanwhile, back at the Unemployment line....

    August 6, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Obama has shown his last 10 years of tax returns. His returns seem to have been all above board.

    Had to tell whether Romney's are or aren't.

    Oh BTW: It's generally held that the candidate who wants to play "I've got a secret" isn't going to fair well in the general election. We'll see.

    August 6, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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