Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) remained defiant late Monday over his claims that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hasn’t paid taxes in a decade, even as the White House distanced itself from his remarks.
“No one should feel sorry for me,” Reid told reporters in Las Vegas on Monday afternoon.
“The issue that I raised has nothing to do with me,” he continued. “It has everything to do with the first presidential candidate in more than 30 years who refuses to show the American people his income tax returns.”
Reid has used the allegation to hammer Romney to submit more of his tax records to public scrutiny. Romney has released two years of tax returns and has rejected calls to disclose more records.
Republicans have sprung to Romney’s defense, noting that Reid has no evidence to back up his claims, with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus calling Reid a “dirty liar” for the remarks.
Priebus on Tuesday said he suspected the Obama campaign was behind the allegations, using Reid as a proxy to level the unsubstantiated claims.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that Reid “speaks for himself” and made the allegations without any guidance from the Obama campaign.
Speaking ahead of a clean energy summit he’s hosting in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Reid showed no signs of backing down.
“The burden is not on me,” he said. “It's on Romney to produce his income tax returns. This man is running for president. We should know more about him.
"Listen, Romney can solve this problem very quickly,” Reid continued. “Produce the tax returns.”
While the White House wouldn’t defend Reid’s specific allegations, Carney on Monday echoed Reid’s transparency argument, saying that there’s a “tradition” that “has been in place since 1968 of candidates for the president releasing multiple years of their tax returns.”
Reid also indicated he was ready for a fight if Republicans turned their attention to his own finances.
“All you have to do is go look,” Reid said. “I file every year, every stock trade, every piece of land I buy, all the money I have; it has the value of my homes, it's got it all there, so this is really a way to divert attention."