Just when we thought the White House had backed away from Harry Reid's wild, and unsubstantiated, claim that Mitt Romney hasn't paid taxes for the last 10 years, the Obama camp has released an incredible ad suggesting the same thing.
In a new spot that is specifically endorsed by Barack Obama, an ominous voice wonders if Romney has paid below the 13.9 percent tax rate he claims, and at one point wonders if he's paid "0%." It then goes on to say "we don't know" and that it's time for Romney to "come clean."
Watch it below:
Forget for now that the ad as it stands is baseless. Instead, We'll let the Glenn Beck radio crew debunk it using sheer absurdity. Here's them mocking the claim when it first came out:
But the Reid story doesn't end there. On Thursday afternoon HuffPo ran a story citing a top Reid aide saying that the source for the Romney tax claim happened to be a Republican, which sent the left salivating. But that claim quickly changed:
"This person is an investor in Bain Capital, a Republican also, and somebody who has been dealing with Romney's company for a long, long time and he has direct knowledge of this," said Reid aide Jose Parra, referring to Romney's tax returns.
UPDATE: 7:08 p.m. -- Parra now says he doesn't know whether Reid's source is Republican. In an email to HuffPost, he wrote:
"I do not know the party affiliation of the source, how long he invested with Bain, or his relationship to Romney beyond the fact that he was an investor with Bain Capital, as Senator Reid has previously stated."
As for the "Son of Boss" suggestion, Business Insider has more:
The ad, "Son of Boss," pivots off of a new CNN op-ed from tax lawyer Peter C. Canellos and tax expert Edward D. Kleinbard, which raises questions about Romney's involvement in, and awareness of, Marriott International's use of Son of Boss tax shelters as a member of the hotel conglomerate's board of directors during the 1990s.
As the op-ed points out, Romney is close personal friends with the Marriott family, and joined the Marriott board of directors in 1993. He served as the board's chairman of the audit committee from 1993 until 1998, the same time period in which Marriott used the "Son of BOSS," tax shelter, a transaction that was later labeled "abusive" by the IRS. According to Canellos and Kleinbard, Romney, as audit chair, would have been required to approve this transaction.
The new Obama campaign ad attempts to this alleged involvement into Romney's refusal to release his federal income tax returns, suggesting that the returns would show Romney was similarly willing to use tax shelters in to boost his personal finances.
The fact that the campaign would stoop to such a level in the ad is curious, especially considering they are embroiled in another ad scandal involving a super PAC's ad insinuating Romney killed a steel worker's wife. As time marches on, more evidence points to the fact that the administration knew much more about the man in that ad -- a man they used in their own spot -- than they are admitting to. Which begs the question: Why?
- White House says Reid speaks for himself
- Krauthammer calls Reid's claims "hypocrisy"
- Blog: The Obama administration is lying
Follow Jonathon M. Seidl (@jonseidl) on Twitter.
This story has been updated with additional information.