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Schumer defends Reid's attacks on Romney's tax returns

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday defended Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) attacks on Mitt Romney's tax returns. 

Schumer said the Reid attacks are politically effective for Democrats, and urged Romney to release more of his tax returns, suggesting Democrats will not back away from the aggressive campaigning. 

"Every day Mitt Romney has to talk about tax returns is a bad day for him and a good day for Democrats. You know they're trying to focus this on Harry Reid, there's an 800 pound elephant in the room — it's called 'unreleased taxes,' " Schumer said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." 

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Earlier this week Reid said a Bain Capital investor called his office to tell him that Romney had avoided paying income taxes.

Reid took his accusations to the Senate floor Thursday, calling on Romney to "prove" he paid taxes by releasing additional returns.

"So the word is out that [Romney] hasn't paid any taxes for 10 years. Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn't. We already know that from one partial tax return that he gave us, he has money hidden in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and a Swiss bank account," Reid said.

Romney has released his tax return for 2010 and an estimate of his 2011 tax obligation. 

Schumer said the presumptive GOP nominee should "rip off the Band-aid now" and release additional records.

"He should have done it two years ago, no one could understand why," Schumer said.

Speaking on Sean Hannity’s radio show Thursday, Romney said Reid needs to "put up or shut up" on his tax records.

"It’s time for Harry to put up or shut up," Romney said. “Harry’s going to have to describe who it is he spoke with because that’s totally and completely wrong. It’s untrue, dishonest and inaccurate. It’s wrong. So I’m looking forward to have Harry reveal his sources and we’ll probably find out it’s the White House.”

Schumer also weighed in on the Texas Senate primary win of Ted Cruz, who defeated Texas's lieutenant governor to secure the GOP Senate nomination. Cruz is a Tea Party favorite and former solicitor general in Texas. 

Schumer predicted that if the Tea Party gains strength and dominated in the Republican Party, the GOP will be relegated to the minority party for years to come. Schumer pinned Cruz's win on a "radicalized, far-right five percent" of Texans that voted for the Tea Party-backed candidate.

"Guess who's the most unhappy man in Washington this week: [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell. He's got another articulate, smart person whose job it will be, if he follows Tea Party line, to obstruct the Senate," Schumer said.

Schumer said McConnell (R-Ky.) will have "as many headaches" as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) does in the lower chamber.

"This is not good for the country and it's certainly not good for the Republican Party, but it's also not where American electorate is at. It's where the hard right of the Republican Party is," he said.