While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke in Charlotte Tuesday at the start of the Democratic National Convention to drum up support for incumbent President Barack Obama, his speech and subsequent interviews are likely to be remembered for once again stirring up controversy regarding Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s tax returns. Romney has already said he will release two years of tax returns, but Reid wants more, building Tuesday upon claims he made last month that a Bain investor told him that Romney did not pay income taxes for ten years.
Reid said Tuesday that Romney “chose Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters over American institutions” and “pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families.”
“We can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people a dozen years of tax returns,” Reid said.
Reid told the crowd that Romney is the biggest proponent of a rigged game for the wealthy.
“Never in modern American history has a presidential candidate tried so hard to hide himself from the people he hopes to serve,” Reid said.
Reid’s unfounded claims from earlier this summer that Romney did not pay taxes for ten years, which he repeated from the floor of the Senate, were criticized by many Republicans, and even several liberal commentators.
When asked by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews following his speech, if he still believes Romney went ten years without paying taxes, the Senate Majority Leader could not give a straight answer.
“The issue is not me, the issue is Mitt Romney,” Reid said, then attempted to deflect to bank accounts in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
“I agree with you, but do we have a probably cause that he did something wrong,” Matthews asked again.
“The issue is not me, it’s him,” repeated Reid.
Following Reid’s remarks, the Romney campaign pounced on the continued accusations.
“Harry Reid has once again shown that he is completely detached from reality,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams told the Wall Street Journal. “Sen. Reid’s comments tonight are absolutely false and are another attempt to distract from President Obama’s abysmal economic record.”
Watch Reid’s full interview with Matthews where the MSNBC host attempts to get direct answers from the Nevada Senator regarding whether or not he believes Romney has paid his taxes, or is an honest man: