The White House says it did not advise Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to accuse Mitt Romney of having paid zero taxes over the past decade.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today dismissed a new claim made by former New Hampshire Governor and Romney supporter John Sununu, who said that the White House worked with Reid to craft the attack against Romney.
“Harry Reid is a bumbling Senate leader,” Sununu said during an appearance on Fox News. “The fact is that he was encouraged to do stuff like this by [Obama adviser David] Axelrod, by the president, and by the White House.”
Carney, however, rejected that notion.
“I’m not aware of the White House speaking to Senator Reid about this issue,” he said. “I would simply say that you all probably know Senator Reid well, and you know, he speaks for himself.”
Reid initiated the firestorm over Romney’s taxes by stating multiple times last week that an anonymous Bain Capital employee had informed him that Romney paid nothing in taxes for at least ten years. Yet, when pressed by the Romney campaign to “put up or shut up,” the Nevada Democrat was unable reveal his source, leading many to doubt the veracity of his story.
According to his 2010 tax filings, Romney’s income was taxed at a roughly 14 percent rate. The presumptive GOP nominee has said that he will publicize his full 2011 tax return sometime before the November 6 election.
Reid’s attacks can be viewed as an attempt to goad Romney into releasing several more years worth of tax returns, which Democrats believe contain more clues as to how Romney has invested his money, and where he has stored his earnings.