Priebus defends 'dirty liar' slam against Harry Reid
August 6th, 2012
09:50 AM ET
11 years ago

Priebus defends 'dirty liar' slam against Harry Reid

(CNN) - The Republican National Committee chairman was far from apologetic Monday morning when asked if he took back a recent comment calling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a "dirty liar."

"You know there's no triple-down in blackjack but I'll triple down on my comments from yesterday," Reince Priebus said on Fox News. "It's the truth."

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The top Republican made the original remark Sunday morning in a discussion about Reid's accusations that Mitt Romney went 10 years without paying taxes. The Democratic leader made the allegations based off what his office calls an "extremely credible source" affiliated with Romney's private equity firm, Bain Capital.

Reid first made the comments in an interview with Huffington Post on Tuesday, then later voiced his opinions on the Senate floor, urging Romney to release more tax documents to answer any lingering questions.

Romney pushed back twice last week, telling Reid to either "put up or shut up" and calling the reports false. Republicans, including 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 the ABC News program "This Week." "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."

While Priebus' "dirty liar" jab took some heat on Twitter Sunday, the RNC chair did not back down when questioned about it Monday and further reiterated his attack, saying Reid had "denigrated" his position as Senate majority leader.

"What else do you call somebody who goes on to the Senate floor and claims that someone hasn't paid any taxes in ten years - a complete lie - and uses his official office to do it?" Priebus said.

He once again repeated the line: "He's a dirty liar, and we're moving on to defeating this president and saving this country."

Responding to Republican statements on Sunday, Reid's spokesman Adam Jentleson said in a statement it was "sad" Romney "has forced his party to defend his decision to hide the truth about his tax returns."

"As Senator Reid has said, an extremely credible source informed him that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for ten years," Jentleson said. "It's clear Mitt Romney is hiding something, and the only way for him to clear this up is to be straight with the American people and release his tax returns."

Filed under: 2012 • Harry Reid • Reince Priebus
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. andrew

    Where was all of this Gop outrage when Republicans were accusing Obama of not being American? Funny how lies are only ok when the GOP is spewing them....

    August 6, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Actually, it is the base of the GOP, the birthers like T-Rump and Fox foreign owned extreme media, along with the RNC that are the liars. Nice try Prince.

    August 6, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  3. chris

    If Romney has nothing to hid, let him prove Reid wrong by releasing his tax returns. Who knows he may have been of the problems of American Economy!

    August 6, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  4. tony

    He's knows Romney will be defeated as a China lover if he shows his taxes and defeated as a presumed crook if he doesn't. So now it's gonna be a $100M a month advertising Lies and Snow Job, to buy the electorate instead.

    August 6, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  5. kevin

    Show the papers Mitt!

    August 6, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. sayer

    The GOP has no class anymore. That is why I am no longer one of them.

    August 6, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. mikaman3000

    Both sides are corrupt. You statement just proves who your political master is.

    August 6, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  8. sonny chapman

    "Saving this Country". The arrogance.

    August 6, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  9. Wake up people

    This could be settled if Willard were to do the one thing all other Presidential candidates have done, starting with his father. Release the taxes. It's not like the people are asking you for anything out of the ordinary like perhaps your birth certificate and college transcripts......

    OBAMA 2012!

    August 6, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  10. BunnyBunny

    This guy has no idea if Reid is lying or not. Unless He's tight with Romney and Romney showed him the taxes he won't show the American people.

    August 6, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  11. Four and The Door

    At least Harry Reid is consistent. Reckless politics attempting to scam Americans. It's just what he does and how he approaches his job. It's time for a change.

    August 6, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. Ray E. (Georgia)

    If there was anything to this we would have stories in the Liberal Press in Spades. However Folks Romney paid all his Taxes. I know I am his Fairy Godmother! Ha Ha. Harry mixed up Romney with Tim Geitnier. God are the Democrats desperate!!

    August 6, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. bb

    This is about Reids lies, nothing else, He and Oblunder need to create jobs so you losers looking MR NEXT PRES taxes can go get a job, oh sorry u all want to stay on welfare

    August 6, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  14. tee27

    Priebus knows Mitt is guilty on tax evasion he is just trying to spin it not gonna work,

    August 6, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  15. inathens

    Harry Reid was a liar this time – doing the dirty work of the administration to take attention away from the issues that matter. Awesome to see Priebus and the GOP stand strong and push back. That's what they should do given they way the DNC is expanding power of the federal government and driving us into Greek-styled debt and financial disaster – both bad for the long term health of this country.

    August 6, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  16. Matt

    The facts are that Romney lied about his taxes when he ran for Gov of Massachussetts and had to refile to "expo facto" be considered a resident of Massachussetts so he could run for governor. I wouldn't take Willard's word for the correct time and date. By failing to release his tax returns and asking us to take his word for it, he is asking us to be negligent in our "due diligence" of his candidacy. Obviously, when he was at Bain he did due diligence on scores of deals. I'll bet you $10,000 he would have walked away from any deal if he asked for documentation and was told "I'ver shown you everything you're need to see. Just take my word for it."

    August 6, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. wkndthg

    Lets see, they LIED about the president's birth certificate and he produced it, TWICE! And now these little skeezers cry about what Reid said? From their boy mitts foul mouth "what's good for the goose is good for the sauce"..., show your TAX papers.

    August 6, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. repackrider

    A lot of people are calling Harry Reid a liar. After all, he's practically begging to be called a liar. Every time they call him a liar, he'll remind them what he's lying about and double down. The GOP fell for the trick they invented, outrage about an opponent's statement, dominating the news cycle. Meanwhile Harry's approval rates are shooting up, and Harry is hearing cha-ching with every foam-flecked accusation.

    Reid may or may not be a liar, but he hasn't produced any evidence or his snitch to support his claim. The claim itself is a negative; short of having the returns, Reid can't prove that Mitt didn't pay his taxes. If Reid is lying, Mitt can prove that he is, and for unknown reasons has chosen not to.

    Quoting Mark Knofler, "Harry doesn't mind. He's got a daytime job and he's doing all right." Reid has nothing to lose, which makes him the most formidable type of opponent for someone who does. Reid took this mission because he's untouchable and has plausible deniability. Reid has four years on a no-cut contract. I think he has the cards and knows the other guy is bluffing, so he'll keep pushing out the chips.

    The idea of releasing tax returns originated with Mitt's father, and Mitt is the first presidential candidate in 40 years from either party who failed to live up to his own father's example of honesty. The arrogance of being the first to ignore his father's formerly sacred gold standard is not lost.

    One thing we do know about Mitt's returns. If they went public, he would lose the election, because he's throwing it away by not releasing them. He allows his taxes to be the only subject of conversation rather than clear up any accusations by following his father's example. He got his wish.

    Unless Mitt prepares his own tax returns (unlikely), there is an army of accountants and lawyers involved. Many if not most would have a good idea of Client #1's tax picture. You want to know where the bodies are buried, ask the grave digger. If only one of that army of "the help" defected, he could bring the map to the graveyard.

    Somewhere there is an electronic copy of those returns.

    I can't wait.

    August 6, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. Steve

    Reid is dirty liar, and so is Pelois. It's really said so to see so many people not having a clue.

    August 6, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  20. LIP

    Hey Harry...let's hear who your source might be or are you the real liar here?

    August 6, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  21. Bob C

    Senator Reid said he was told that Governor Romney had not paid taxes for possibly up to 10 years. Senator Reid did not say that Mr. Romney hadn't paid taxes, only that he was told as such. Now who is lying Mr. Priebus?

    August 6, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  22. mark

    Show us all the tax papers Mitt. Now!

    August 6, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  23. Jules

    So Priebus calls Reid a "dirty liar." So where is your proof Priebus? Oh, that's right, you can't prove he's lying because Romney will not release his tax returns. Romney says he paid taxes every year – first, was it before or after the audits? And, secondly, that's what you say, but you won't prove it. Please note that when John McCain responded, he said nothing in Romney's taxes disqualified him from being VP or president, but what John McCain did not say was that Romney paid taxes every year.

    August 6, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  24. enuff

    Touched a nerve there, didn't we? If he has paid taxes, prove him wrong. Show us "people" how the extreme wealthy hide their money to avoid paying taxes. Show us how you paid "exactly" what you "owed.".. If you have nothing to hide, then what is the problem? This is not going away because you wish it.

    August 6, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  25. Namejohn

    Why doesn't H.Reid just come out with his source and put the whole thing to rest?

    August 6, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
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