August 6th, 2012
03:24 PM ET
11 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. It's Time

    Ancient Texan, no one is claming Mitt did anything illegal if he did pay little or no taxes. However, if he did pay little or no taxes we are saying he is a part of the 1% who has special favors built into the tax code. In fact I believe most americans believe he has not broken any laws, but most americans DO believe that he has taken advantage of every loophole possible in the tax code. Mitt is afraid to say he is a part of the 1% because he has been trying to potray himself as an average american..

    August 6, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. Ready

    Obama has to play dirty, only chance he's got. Anything to distract the voters and the media from his failings. And coming from a candidate who said he wouldn't play dirty in politics. Nothing but false promises...

    August 6, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. lolo

    Here we go with the blame game from the republicans. How about blaming Mittens since he won't show his tax returns. The ball is in his court, but he is to uppity to show them because I am rich and I do not have to show you people anything, just vote for me.He is nothing but a spoiled rich bully who can't take the heat and a sorry excuse for a man. I hate to talk about people but this man must not become president. He is a snake crawling on his belly ready to pounce.

    August 6, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. BigTBone

    Change the headline: The Republican machine will point to ANYONE being the problem with this issue- the media, axelrod, obama, reid, pelosi- anyone besides the dandelion known as Mitt.

    The longer he resists the calls for tax returns, the more his only advantage (wealth) crumbles in the breeze.

    If you're not a millionaire and you are STILL considering a vote for Romney, you need a hard look in the mirror as to what it is you're opposed to from President Obama.

    August 6, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. Tax Free Riders, PAY YOUR FAIR SHARE

    This sleazeball is the slimiest thing to hit DC in centuries. Calls need to be made for Harry Reid to resign NOW. To use government property to make false and unsubstantiated claims like this is totally outrageous and he has stepped far over the line. This clown hasn't done his job in years but finds time to spread lies about others while we pay his salary. REID NEEDS TO RESIGN IMMEDIATELY.

    August 6, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. Hayden

    I don't know if Harry Ried thought this out. If Romney realeases his returns, and they show he paid them, it will show that Romney has money overseas sure. But it will also show that Reid lied, and can't be trusted.

    August 6, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. It's Time

    Ready, I have searched past posts and I can't find anywhere where it shows that you felt the GOP/TP was using dirty tricks insisting Obama show his BC. Where was your outrage?

    August 6, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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