A war of words between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney shows no signs of easing, with Reid continuing to press Romney over unpaid taxes and Romney responding by telling Reid to "put up or shut up."
Reid, a Nevada Democrat and close ally of President Obama, has said he spoke with "an extremely credible source" inside Bain Capital, a private equity firm that Romney once led, that asserted Romney did not pay any taxes for 10 years.
But Reid has refused to reveal his source, prompting Romney to tell a Fox News commentator that Reid should "put up or shut up."
Romney told Fox News's Sean Hannity that Reid's charge is "totally and completely wrong."
"It's untrue, dishonest and inaccurate. ...I'm looking forward to having Harry reveal his sources and we'll probably find out it's the White House," Romney said.
On Thursday night, Reid issued a statement that ramped up the controversy, reiterating his initial claim and responding to Romney's "put up or shut up" remark. Reid also took the opportunity to go even further, saying, "It's clear Romney is hiding something."
"As I said before, I was told by an extremely credible source that Romney has not paid taxes for ten years. People who make as much money as Mitt Romney have many tricks at their disposal to avoid paying taxes," Reid said.
He added, "When it comes to answering the legitimate questions the American people have about whether he avoided paying his fair share in taxes or why he opened a Swiss bank account, Romney has shut up. But as a presidential candidate, it's his obligation to put up, and release several years' worth of tax returns just like nominees of both parties have done for decades."
Romney has refused to release any of his tax returns prior to 2010, despite a long-standing tradition that dates back to his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, of releasing 12 years' worth of returns. The senior Romney started the tradition during his 1968 presidential campaign and both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have followed suit.
Romney has said he fears that the Obama campaign would "distort" his financial data and use them as fodder for attack ads.
In his statement Thursday night, Reid noted that Romney was asked during a TV interview last week whether he had ever paid any tax rate below 13.9 percent and responded that he would check his records. Reid mocked that, noting that the Romney campaign has since released no new information.
by RTT Staff Writer
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