Since Harry Reid claimed that an anonymous source told him Romney didn’t pay any taxes for ten years, he’s taken a lot of flack. At first it was only from the right, but increasingly the left is now calling Reid out. Jon Stewart mocked him last week and on Sunday CBS’ Bob Schieffer compared Reid to Senator McCarthy. Monday Reid got some support from the former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. However Pelosi may be climbing out on a shaky limb just as the White House is getting ready to saw it off.
“Harry Reid made a statement that is true. Somebody told him. It is a fact,” she told a reporter for the Huffington Post on Sunday. Is she saying that Reid’s claims are a fact? Not really. A bit later she clarifies by saying “[Harry Reid] wouldn’t say this unless it was true that somebody told him that.” So Rep. Pelosi is backing up Reid’s having had a conversation with a real person, though she doesn’t explain how she knows this.
As for the underlying facts at the center of Reid’s allegation Pelosi doesn’t claim any knowledge about that, “Whether he did or not can easily be disposed of: Mitt Romney can release his tax returns and show whether he paid taxes.” In other words, all Pelosi has done is repeat the accusation.
But there is increasing evidence that the tide is beginning to turn against Reid’s anonymous attack. In addition to the McCarthy comparison on Sunday, liberal commentator Richard Cohen add to it in his scathing assessment of Reid’s attacks in Monday’s Washington Post:
Reid has managed todraw both his party and his president into the gutter with him. WhenReid accuses the Republicans of being overly partisan, he now lacks allcredibility. For a long time it’s been difficult to believe anything hesays. Now, it’s impossible.
As for Obama, he is tarnished by this episode. The fresh new facethat promised us all a different kind of politics is suddenly lookingcheesy. The soaring rhetoric that Obama used in his first campaign hascome to ground in the mud of Harry Reid’s latter-day McCarthyism.
Harry Reid (and Nancy Pelosi) are now becoming a political liability. Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey notes that Jay Carney was asked about the attacks today and said that Reid “speaks for himself.” In other words, we’re not part of that mess.
Does anyone believe Carney for even an instant? We’ve seen what happens when someone–Mayor Cory Booker or even Bill Clinton–speaks for himself in a way that contradicts the White House line of attack. They get yanked off the front lines fast. Reid has been making these allegations for a week without any murmur of dissent from the White House. That tells you all you need to know. The White House approve and, in all likelihood, agreed on this strategy before it was deployed. It’s too late to pretend Reid is doing this on his own. As Cohen suggests, the White House owns this along with Reid and Pelosi.