Harry Reid's recent remarks on the floor of the Senate that the real reason that Mitt Romney has yet to release more than one year of his tax returns is because he didn't pay any for a 10-year period has created a considerable backlash from mainstream media types, including from liberals like the New York Times Frank Bruni and comedian Jon Stewart.
But as Democrats were put on the spot on the Sunday morning political talk shows if they stood by Reid in what CBS News' Bob Schieffer said was a Joseph McCarthy like comment, it ultimately redounded back to the fact that well, why hasn't Romney released more of his taxes?
While Debbie Wasserman Schultz, David Axelrod and Ted Strickland were all asked how could they defend their Senate leader's comment, longtime GOP strategist Ed Rollins was telling Fox News Sunday that in fact, Romney should put out at least five or six years in returns to shut the whole discussion down.
ED ROLLINS: I think at this point in time it’s going to dog him all the way and he needs to get it behind him. He paid a lot of money in taxes. He’s made a lot of money.
CHRIS WALLACE: Wait, do you think he should release more taxes?
ROLLINS: I think he should release his taxes.
WALLACE: Really, you know it’s not going to satisfy the Democrats. They’re going to look at it and obviously there are shelters in there, perfectly legal shelters.
ROLLINS: At the end of the day, you come to a point where you give them a little more and you move forward. Two years is not enough, obviously.
As the liberal blog Think Progress reports, Rollins joins a prominent list of conservatives such as George Will, Bill Kristol, Haley Barbour and others who have called for Romney to release more than the two years which he has promised to release.
Those were some of the names that Team Obama strategist David Axelrod told Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace in going after Romney (again) on the issue that doesn't seem to fade away.
"I don’t know who Harry was talking to. The point here, though, Chris, is the Romney campaign and Gov. Romney can resolve this in 10 seconds — they can release the tax returns."
“Why don’t they just put this to rest?” he said. “What is it that he’s hiding?”
“They ought to release the returns and that would put all of this to rest.”
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, obviously using the same talking points distributed to Axelrod, told ABC's George Stephanopolous that Romney could put the issue to rest in "10 seconds by releasing the 23 years in tax returns that he gave to John McCain when he was being vetted for vice-president."
“Or even 12 years of tax returns that his own father said were what was appropriate. Because one year of tax returns, like he’s released, could just be for show. Like the overwhelming majority of voters believe, because the polls all show, that Mitt Romney owes us more than one year of tax returns. Owes us answers to questions about his overseas investments, owes us answers to questions about why he’s decided to invest in foreign countries, as opposed to investing in the United States.”
None of the Democrats said they could vouch for Reid's statement or his supposed source.
Republicans fought back hard, with RNC Chair Reince Priebus on ABC and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham on CNN calling Harry Reid a liar (Priebus called him a "dirty liar")
PRIEBUS: As far as Harry Reid is concerned, listen, I know you might want to go down that road, I’m not going to respond to a dirty liar who hasn’t filed a single page of tax returns himself. Complains about people with money but lives in the Ritz Carlton here down the street,” Priebus said. “So if that’s on the agenda, I’m not going to go there. This is just a made-up issue. And the fact that we’re going to spend any time talking about it is ridiculous.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You say you’re not gonna respond, but you just called him “a dirty liar.” You stand by that? You think Harry Reid is a “dirty liar?”
PRIEBUS: I just said it.
On CNN's Reliable Sources, conservative San Francisco Chronicle columnist Deborah Saunders condemned Harry Reid, saying that as the leader of the Senate, Reid has an "obligation to his institution to not make wild, unsubstantiated claims. He puts dishonor on that whole house. Unless he can prove what he's saying, than we have to focus on him."
But liberal radio talk-show host Bill Press surprised host Howie Kurtz by defending the Senate Majority Leader. "Harry Reid is playing hardball!" he exclaimed excitedly.