Now that Harry Reid has admitted he was lying about Mitt Romney failing to pay taxes in order to help Barack Obama win re-election, the media are pretending to be shocked. But they were complicit, too, giving Reid’s claim more air time than it possibly deserved. And the Obama campaign backed Reid’s efforts, pushing his lies in their own words. The worst offender was Jen Psaki, who was later rewarded with plum communications posts at the State Department and the White House.
In mid-July 2012, the Obama campaign released a negative ad that hit Romney for not releasing his tax returns to the public: “Makes you wonder if some years he paid any taxes at all.”
Psaki defended the incendiary ad by noting that Republicans had also called on Romney to make his tax returns public: “This is a call that’s not just being made by us; it’s being made by many people, including people from Mitt Romney’s own party,” she told reporters on Air Force One.
Reid riffed on that line, and the Obama campaign never stopped him–just as they never stopped Obama’s Super PAC, the nominally independent Priorities USA Action, from claiming falsely that Mitt Romney had caused the death of a former steelworker. Psaki endorsed a lie on that occasion as well, claiming the campaign had not known about the worker’s story, when in fact he had spoken on an campaign conference call, and may have filmed an ad at the same time for both entities.
On Wednesday, reporter James Rosen of Fox News asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest whether the President would condemn Reid’s lie. He declined, on the grounds that the lie was told three years ago. Yet the same people behind that lie are still, like Psaki, on the Obama team, in the highest reaches of the administration, presenting the public face of the U.S. government to the world.
This is not just about dirty campaign tactics. It is about Obama’s continued dishonesty.