Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz refused to “repudiate” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Sunday over unsubstantiated claims he made last week that GOP nominee Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years.
Wasserman Shultz, who also represents Florida in Congress, was asked by This Week host George Stephanopolous if it was “appropriate for the Democratic leader in the Senate to make charge like that with no more than anonymous source?” The DNC chair dodged the question several times, spewing out every Democratic talking point on Romney she could muster in order to avoid discussing Sen. Reid’s “explosive charge” before finally telling Stephanopolous that Harry Reid is “responsible” for the claims Harry Reid makes.
“Everybody is responsible for saying the things that they have information on. Harry Reid says that he has a credible source,” she said.
Last Tuesday Reid caused an uproar after he told The Huffington Post that an investor in Romney’s former company Bain Capital told him that Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years and that is why the GOP candidate has refused to release his tax returns now. Reid has declined to name the “extremely credible” source, even after being told to “put up or shut up” by Romney, who says he has “paid taxes every year – and a lot of taxes.” Reid even went to the Senate floor this week to outright accuse Romney of tax evasion.
“The word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for ten years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes – because he hasn’t,” Reid said on the Senate floor.
Wasserman Shultz tried to give Reid some cover, saying “I know that this question is not just generated by Harry Reid. It’s been asked by countless reporters, by voters who want to know . . .”
But Stephanopolus wasn’t going to let her off the hook that easily and interrupted her to say, “Not this question Congresswoman.
“Do you stand by Harry Reid’s charge?” he asked again.
“George I stand by the fact that I believe, like the overwhelming majority of voters believe, because the polls all show that Mitt Romney owes us more than one year of tax returns,” listing off several other questions that “voters” feel they are “owed” answers to from Romney. “They weren’t raised by Harry Reid. They were all raised by voters and reporters and people who have a right to ask and Mitt Romney has yet to come clean on the answers to any of those questions.”
Wasserman Shultz’s claims are misleading. Reporters and the American people are asking those questions now, but only after they were repeatedly raised by the Obama campaign and the DNC. In fact, 75 percent of American voters don’t seem persuaded by the Democrats attacks on Romney’s wealth. Additionally, the “overwhelming majority of voters” calling on Romney to release his tax returns self-identify as Democrats.
Schultz also tried to use Romney’s statement earlier this month that he wasn’t sure if he had ever paid a tax rate of below 13.9 percent as evidence that Romney may not have paid taxes, “I’m glad I wasn’t holding my breath waiting for Mitt Romney to get back to us on answering that question, because he still hasn’t responded on whether he’s paid a lower tax rate.”
Hopefully This Week viewers weren’t holding their breath waiting for Wasserman Shultz to get back to them on whether or not she would “repudiate” Harry Reid, as the Congresswoman never answered Stephanopolus’ question of whether or not she supported Reid’s potentially slanderous claims.
After asking Wasserman Schultz variations of the question four times Stephanopolous finally ended the back and forth with a perfunctory, “So it’s clear you’re not going to repudiate that charge from Harry Reid,” and moved on to an equally unflattering question about the continuing fall out from President Barack Obama’s “You didn’t build that” remarks.