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No Shame: Harry Reid Changes Line of Attack, Accuses Romney of 'Manipulating' the System


"What else in those returns has Romney manipulated?"

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday released his 2011 tax return and 20 years worth of tax-related data, immediately debunking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) oft-repeated claim that Romney's hasn't paid any taxes in 10 years.

After poring over the documents, two fact emerged: a) the former Massachusetts governor has indeed paid federal income taxes every year and b) he donates on average 13.45 percent of his adjusted gross income to charity each year.

But rather than express some sort of embarrassment or remorse for accusing Romney of being a tax cheat, Sen. Reid decided to change up his line of attack and released the following statement:

The information released today reveals that Mitt Romney manipulated one of the only two years of tax returns he’s seen fit to show the American people -- and then only to ‘conform’ with his public statements. That raises the question: what else in those returns has Romney manipulated? We already know Romney has money in tax havens in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. What we don’t know is why he refuses to be straight with the American people about the choices he’s made in his financial life. When will the American people see the returns he filed before he was running for president? Governor Romney is showing us what he does when the public is looking. The true test of his character would be to show what he did when everyone was not looking at his taxes.

It’s also galling to see the creative accounting Mitt Romney applied to his own tax returns only days after learning of his insulting comments that seniors, soldiers and hard-working parents don’t pay enough taxes. Once again, we see Mitt Romney is out of touch with middle class families, who don’t have the luxury of accounting wizards and foreign tax shelters. It’s obvious he believes in two sets of rules: one for him, and one for the middle class. He says he wants to be president for only half the people but he acts like he only cares for the top two percent. Despite the fiscal cliff looming in just over three months, Mitt Romney refuses to explain the details of his tax policy. Will the policies he proposes benefit all Americans, or only multi-millionaires like him?

Okay, just to make sure we're clear on this, the narrative is no longer "Romney hasn't paid any taxes." It's "gee, he sure manipulates the system!" Got it.

"For the past twenty years, Mitt Romney has paid income taxes at an effective rate at least as high as what he paid in 2010, and often much higher," Megan McArdle writes for The Daily Beast.

"Harry Reid's friend was either lying or gravely mistaken, and Harry Reid should have known better than to repeat such nonsense without better sourcing," she adds.

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