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Posted at 07:15 AM ET, 08/01/2012

Harry Reid’s sharp tongue has struck before


Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), photographed in April 2011. (Handout - GETTY IMAGES)

This item has been updated.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) raised eyebrows Tuesday when he said he was told that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is withholding more tax returns because he didn’t pay taxes over a 10-year stretch.

The Senate leader claimed in an interview that he learned of the former governor’s tax history from a Bain Capital investor who called his office. Reid, however, declined to name the alleged investor or cite any proof for his allegation.

When pressed for details on the alleged investor, Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said “I have no information beyond what he said. If Mitt Romney is upset with Senator Reid’s remarks, there’s a simple way for him to clear up the matter: release his tax returns.”

The Romney campaign hasn’t responded directly to Reid’s statement.

Whether or not Reid’s statement is true, it adds to a long list of interesting statements in recent years that Republicans have called them “foot-in-mouth moments.”

Here’s a brief review of some of the most notable:

1.) Reid calls Bush a “loser” : He made the comment in May 2005, just about the time Air Force One was touching down in Latvia with President George W. Bush aboard. The remark violated the restraint that the opposition party customarily exercises when a U.S. president is traveling outside the country. When he realized what he had done, Reid immediately called the White House to express regret.

2.) Reid calls Bush a “liar” — and doesn’t apologize : Reid made the comment at least twice. Once, during a December 2004 “Meet the Press” interview and then again in a 2005 Rolling Stone magazine interview. “I don’t know if that rhetoric is appropriate,” Reid told NBC in 2004. “That’s how I feel, and that’s how I felt.” The comments came in response to Bush’s plan to move nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain in Nevada — a chief home-state concern of Reid’s.

3.) Reid calls Clarence Thomas “an embarrassment” : In that same 2004 “Meet the Press” interview, Reid shot down suggestions that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas could replace then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was ailing. “I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court,” Reid responded. “I think that his opinions are poorly written. I just don’t think that he’s done a good job as a Supreme Court justice.” But Reid said he could support Justice Antonin Scalia—like Thomas, a political conservative—as chief justice, because he “is one smart guy.”

4.) Reid: Ted Kennedy’s cancer in remission — he died four months later : The majority leader told reporters in May 2009 that Kennedy would be back in the Senate in two weeks. Reid said Kennedy was, “Doing fine. He’s going through another regimen of treatment, which is not unusual.” A Reid spokesman later clarified that the leader would leave Kennedy's diagnosis to doctors. Kennedy died Aug. 25, 2009.

5.) Reid: “I can’t stand John McCain” : Reid made the comments in August 2008, after learning that the Arizona senator had invited Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) to speak at the 2008 Republican National Convention. “He has a close personal relationship with John McCain. I don’t fully understand why he does,” Reid told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I told him [Lieberman] last night, ‘You know, Joe, I can’t stand John McCain.’ He said, ‘I know you feel that way,’ ” Reid also added that McCain “does not have the right temperament” to be president. Later, he would call McCain “old” and a “snake oil” salesman.

6.) Reid to reporter: “Turn up your Miracle Ear” : Upset with media coverage of his energy proposals, Reid in July 2008 lashed out at reporters when they asked about amendments he planned to introduce to a Republican energy bill. In the exchange, Reid told one reporter she should “watch the [Senate] floor more often. . . . You might learn something.”When another reporter asked for clarification on his amendment plans, Reid asked the reporter if she “spoke English.” He then urged the reporter to “Turn up your Miracle Ear.” A spokesman later said that the comments were a show of “frustration,” not desperation.

7.) Insurance stocks dive on Reid’s ‘bankrupt’ quote : Several big life insurance stocks fell sharply in October 2008 amid fears sparked by a comment from Reid about a potential bankruptcy in the industry. “We don’t have a lot of leeway on time,” he said prior to the Senate’s approval of a $700 billion bailout bill. “One of the individuals in the caucus today talked about a major insurance company. A major insurance company — one with a name that everyone knows that’s on the verge of going bankrupt. That’s what this is all about.” A spokesman later backtracked and said Reid was not aware of any company in danger of bankruptcy.

8.) “That’s a clown question, bro” : Most recently, Reid made reporters laugh in June when he shot down a question about the Republicans’ position on the DREAM Act. “That’s a clown question, bro,” Reid said, borrowing the phrase from Nevadan-turned-Washington Nationals superstar, rookie outfielder Bryce Harper. Harper had coined the phrase days earlier to shoot down reporter questions.

Which moments did we miss? What do you make of Reid’s verbal style? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Paul Kane contributed to this report.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

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By  |  07:15 AM ET, 08/01/2012

 
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