Reid hits Romney over taxes, '47%' comments
September 30th, 2012
03:36 PM ET
9 years ago

Reid hits Romney over taxes, '47%' comments

(CNN) – The leading Democrat in the Senate continued his attacks on Republican nominee Mitt Romney Sunday in an op-ed that questions the former Massachusetts governor's character and pivots back to criticism over the GOP candidate's taxes.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wrote the piece for the Las Vegas Sun, hitting Romney on a variety of recent missteps as well as the tax-related accusations that have dogged the Romney campaign since early in the Republican primaries.

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"We learn the most about someone's character not from what he does when he knows others are watching but from what he does when he thinks they aren't," wrote Reid, leading into criticism of Romney for his most recent gaffe - the "47%" comments.

Romney made the controversial comments while speaking to a group of wealthy donors at a private fund-raiser in May. The candidate told the donors that nearly half of Americans would not vote for him because they are dependent on government.

Immediately following reports of the comments, Reid hurried to the Senate floor to claim Romney "only wants to be president of half of the United States."

In the op-ed, the Nevada senator checked off a list of recent hurdles for the Romney campaign.

"First, his sweeping, closed-door condemnation of President Barack Obama's supporters revealed the disdain he has for half the population he hopes to serve," wrote Reid.

"Then, the limited tax returns Romney selectively released confirmed that he's willing to share information about the time he's been in the public eye and running for president, but not the time he was running the corporation he touts as his sole qualifying credential for the highest office in the land."

Reid's attack on Romney's character, specifically his refusal to release more years of tax returns, recalls a contentious back and forth that Reid set off in late July. He claimed an unnamed investor with Bain Capital - the private equity firm that Romney founded before entering the political realm - told him Romney had not paid taxes for a number of years.

Reid's claim prompted Romney to fire back, telling the majority leader to "put up or shut up" and demanding he reveal his anonymous source. But conservatives' insistence that Reid reveal the name only fueled the controversy, as the Nevada senator continued hitting Romney over his refusal to shed more light on his finances.

At the time, Romney had made public his full 2010 tax return and an estimate for 2011, with a pledge to release the full return for 2011 once it was complete. He filed an extension and released his full 2011 return and information about previous years of returns just over a week ago.

The full 2011 return showed Romney made $13.7 million in 2011 and paid $1.94 million in federal income taxes, giving him an effective tax rate of 14.1%.

Reid's persistence in attacking the GOP nominee comes as Democrats campaign tirelessly to maintain a majority in the upper chamber in November. Democrats currently hold the majority in the Senate, 51-47. There are two independent senators, both of whom caucus with Democrats. Republicans are also campaigning hard for the four seats needed to gain the majority.

Reid's pointed criticism also comes just days before the candidates meet face to face Wednesday in Denver for the first presidential debate and just before Obama holds a campaign rally in Las Vegas on Sunday evening.

Filed under: 2012 • Harry Reid
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. Squigman

    Mitt Romney and his lap dog Ryan, care less for the middle class. They really care less about anything, if there's not enough profit in it. They care for themselves, and the wealthy as long as there's gravy in it for them. End of story.

    September 30, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  2. Jangel

    Funny. This from the same guy who has failed to pass a budget for three years. L

    September 30, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  3. Mark

    This coming from the man who refused to pass a budget in the Senate for the last 4 years. I guess Harry is worried that he is going to be forced to do his job? I thought the people in Nevada were smarter. Why in the hell they would re-elect such a worthless and self serving people boggles the mind. Harry makes a great partner to Nancy Polosi. Both want you to sign blank checks and forget about the outcome.

    September 30, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  4. Rose in Glendale, Az

    Why doesn't Harry Reid ask Obama what he is hiding from the American people. Most of his records have been sealed but Obama gets a pass as usual. Obama has to be hiding something, it has cost him millions to keep his personal info sealed. If someone spends that kind of money about himself then he must have something damaging.

    September 30, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  5. Mack

    He didn't release the full 2010 tax returns. Not sure why CNN continually fails report this information accurately.

    September 30, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  6. bluey

    Keep it up Harry, the Rethuglicans are relentless in their attacks, and they even admit they're not bound by the truth. Bush 2.0 (Romney), or Charlie Waffles as he is also known, doesn't have any problems using attack ads that are so fuul of lies it's laughable.

    September 30, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  7. Ancient Texan

    Reid is just showing that he is the lowest form of sub-human life, nothing different!

    September 30, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  8. Ancient Texan

    only facts- Obama's SEALED and Hidden Past History should be front page news from now until the election. It's like he didn't exist before the Democrat Convention that sprung him on the world.All we know about him was two books, he supposedly wrote himself about himself and they were pure fiction.

    September 30, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  9. Ancient Texan

    Captain Obvious- FALSE. Romney had already paid taxes on ordinary income before the money was reinvested, then paid capital gains taxes.....He paid taxes TWICE

    September 30, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  10. Jose

    Who cares what Reid says? Romney is a religious zealot who is ready to trample on the 47% with austerity and prohibition.

    September 30, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  11. J N Anandan

    I think a majority of the American public fail to understand that the American economy is not a stand-alone economy that it was in the 40's. Today's world's economy is interdependent. When any major economic power is ailing, there is a contagion effect, and normally every other major economies are affected. So to blame any government in power of not doing well under these conditions, is to be like a frog under a coconut shell.Wake up America. see the world as it is and not as it was more than 50 years ago.

    September 30, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  12. swipedcard

    CNN reports that Romney's effective tax rate for 2011 was 14.1%. CNN also has a responsibility to supplement that statement with the fact that Romney manipulated his taxes by withdrawing several million in charitable deductions, to intentionally bump up his tax rate from 10% to 14.1%. In other words, he paid MORE than the system would collect for him, for the purpose of avoiding getting caught in another lie. CNN is not FOX news...this is a MAJOR story that any decent journalist should be covering and demanding release of other tax returns, not simply the ones he had the opportunity to change.

    October 1, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  13. Sasha

    How on earth did anybody ever vote for this pathetic little man .?
    He is abusing his public position to slander and attack Romney which is completely out of order.
    The press is loving it and runs with it.
    How about talking facts and figures and getting back to investigative journalism , not all this crap you are throwing at us.

    October 1, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  14. Name

    Americans are still waiting to see Romneys taxes. We already know he pays a lower rate than most Americans. So we can just imagine what he is hidding.

    October 1, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  15. Peter Grenader

    Wat's a matter Debbie? You can't take the same medicine the GOP has been pounding our ears with since January 25th 2009?

    October 1, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  16. TSIndiana

    Romney's distain for you is clear...he says so, if your in the bottom 47% income brackets. He said that "capital will flow back to America" if he becomes president "by doing nothing".

    His economic plan is dependant upon MAGIC UNDERWARE I guess, because he is surely delusional that his 1% friends are going to bring money into America with his "do nothing" plan for economic growth.

    I too like how he tells truth in private donor meetings, but will lie to the American citizens he has such low regard for when in the public eye. Romney worships money, not God.

    October 1, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
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