Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus angrily responded to a week full of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s accusations about Mitt Romney’s tax returns, calling Reid a “dirty liar” on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
This past week, Reid told The Huffington Post that a Bain Capital investor had told him that Romney had not paid taxes for 10 years. He repeated that claim many times throughout the week, responding at one point to Romney beckoning him to “put up or shut up.”
Stephanopoulos asked Priebus about Reid’s accusations this morning:
PRIEBUS: “As far as Harry Reid is concerned, listen, you might want to go down that road, I’m not going to respond to a dirty liar, who hasn’t filed a single page of tax returns himself. He complains about money but lives in the Ritz Carlton here, down the street. If this is on the agenda, I’m not going to go there. This is just a made-up issue. The fact that we’re going to spend any time talking about it is just ridiculous.”
But Priebus used a heavy enough charge in his response for a follow-up question from Stephanopoulos:
STEPHANOPOULOS: “You just called him a dirty liar. Do you stand by that? Do you think Harry Reid is a dirty liar?”
PRIEBUS: “I just said it.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: “So, what do you want from him right now?”
PRIEBUS: “Listen, this president has a job to do and Harry Reid has a job to do. We have an opportunity in this country to save the very idea of America. To bring back the days of liberty, freedom, the American dream and the fact is, we’re just — we’re not doing well right now as an economy. This president, is the head of this country and he has not fulfilled the mission and he hasn’t lived up to the promises that he made to the people of this country. And it’s hard to believe that the president of 2008, when he campaigned and said that he was going to bring America together, that he would trot out Harry Reid and try to divide this country and spread this division and hatred, it’s ridiculous, wrong and it’s untrue.”
UPDATE: Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson responded in an email:
“Republicans can try to cover up for Mitt Romney’s stonewalling all they want, but this issue is not going away until Romney decides to be straight with the American people and release his tax returns. It is sad that the most secretive candidate since Richard Nixon has forced his party to defend his decision to hide the truth about his tax returns. As Senator Reid has said, an extremely credible source informed him that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years. From the one year of returns Romney has released, we’ve seen that he uses secret offshore accounts in places like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands to avoid paying U.S. taxes. It’s clear Mitt Romney is hiding something, and the only way for him to clear this up is to be straight with the American people and release his tax returns.”
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