The Washington Post

Reid lets up on Romney tax charge?

In July, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that Mitt Romney hadn’t paid taxes for a decade, which could explain why Romney won’t release his old tax returns. How did Reid know? Some folks with knowledge told him, he said. At best, Reid’s story was hearsay. At worst, it was an invention of someone’s (not necessarily Reid’s) imagination. But despite wide condemnation, he refused to back down or reveal the sources he claimed he had.

At the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, Reid again savaged Romney on his tax returns, insisting that the GOP nominee’s lack of transparency raised all sorts of questions, including whether Romney would benefit from the policies he is proposing.

“We can only guess” what’s in Romney’s returns, Reid said ominously. We can only guess? Reid didn’t have to guess a few weeks ago. Is he letting up on his earlier claims because he they were unfair, because he still believes them to be fair but wants to imply still more Romney misdeeds, or because the Obama campaign finally reined him in? If Reid had a change of heart, he should say so. That might make him look just slightly less sleazy.

Stephen Stromberg is a Post editorial writer. He specializes in domestic policy, including energy, the environment, legal affairs and public health.

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