Retiring Senator Harry Reid is a man incapable of feeling any shame.
In a newly published interview, CNN’s Dana Bash asked Reid if he had any regrets from his decades in office. Bash focused in on Reid’s claims during the 2012 election that Mitt Romney paid no taxes for ten years: “So no regrets, not about Mitt Romney about the Koch brothers. Some people have even called it McCarthyite.”
Reid responded with a shrug, “Well, they can call it whatever they want. Um…Romney didn’t win, did he?”
During the 2012 election cycle Romney released tax returns for 2010 and 2011. Democrats hoping to embarrass Romeny and to emphasize his wealth demanded he release additional returns. It was in the midst of this constant media drumbeat that Sen. Reid claimed a former investor in Romney’s company, Bain Capital, had told him Romney paid no taxes for 10 years. Reid first made the claim in an interview with Sam Stein and Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post.
Two days after the interview was published, Reid repeated his claim on the Senate floor, saying, “The word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for 10 years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes because he hasn’t.”
In fact, Romney had paid taxes for all 10 years and the 10 years before that. Price Waterhouse Cooper examined Romney’s taxes from 1990-2009 and found that he paid taxes, state and federal, every year and that he paid an average 20% federal tax rate for those years.
At the time Reid made the claim, fact-checkers quickly concluded he was lying. The Washington Post awarded his claim 4 Pinocchios, stating, “it appears he has no basis to make his incendiary claim.” Even Politifact awarded Reid a “Pants on Fire” ruling.
But Senator Reid refused to retract his lie at the time, and obviously he’s not ashamed of it even now. Reid clearly believes his lies helped re-elect President Obama in 2012. He may be right about that. The claim certainly received plenty of attention in the final months before the election. Perhaps someone in the media will ask the president if he approves of Reid’s McCarthyite tactics on his behalf.