Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) says presidential candidate Mitt Romney hasn't paid any taxes in ten years. He said an investor in Bain Capital told him that in a phone call.
Reid's claim, by itself, raises a few questions. One is time frame. Reid is talking about ten years, which may be the last ten years or the ten years preceding the tax returns Romney has released. That would be ten years beginning in either 2002 or 2000. But Romney was hired in 1999 as president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics. He was brought in there to fix the problems they were having; he wasn't at Bain Capital. When that task finished, he ran for and was elected governor of Massachusetts later that year; he wasn't at Bain Capital.
Then there is another class of questions. What would anybody at Bain Capital know about Romney's taxes beyond whatever residual income he might have gotten from Bain even if Romney had still been at Bain full-time? And beyond that, what would a mere investor know about details of the tax returns of anyone there?
But Harry Reid insists on spreading the charges, with the blessing of the Obama campaign (and probably of Barack Obama himself). And Reid insists Romney must answer these charges, that Romney is guilty until he proves himself innocent.
In the face of all this, how can Harry Reid's friend know what Reid says he knows? One writer says the answer is clear: Imaginary people know everything.
I disagree a bit. It seems to me the answer is that Harry Reid and the rest of the national Democrat leadership are simply making stuff up, for obvious political reasons. And then others like former governors Ed Rendel (D-PA) and Ted Strickland (D-OH) on CBS' Face the Nation this morning wrongly put their trust in these misleaders.
Why are Reid et al. doing this? That, too, seems clear: Anything to move the discussion away from Barack Obama and his record.
UPDATE: If, indeed, Harry Reid's claim is that Mitt Romney hasn't paid any taxes "in the past 10 years", the charge disproves itself. The two years of tax returns Romney has released (2010 and 2011) show he paid taxes a lot of taxes in those two years, which are part of "the past 10 years."