LAS VEGAS – Mitt Romney said Friday that he has paid taxes “every year,” vigorously disputing an assertion by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee paid no income taxes for a decade.
“Harry Reid really has to put up or shut up,” Romney told reporters following a rally here.
“Let me also say, categorically, I have paid taxes every year. And a lot of taxes. So Harry is simply wrong and that is why I am so anxious for him to give us the names of the people who put this forward. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear the names are people from the White House or the Obama campaign or who knows where they are coming from,” Romney added.
Romney’s heated words toward the Senate’s top Democrat follows Reid’s repeated assertion this week that an investor in Romney’s former firm, Bain Capital, confided that Romney had paid no taxes for 10 years. Reid hasn’t substantiated the claim, nor has he identified his source, but that hasn’t stopped the claim from advancing.
Reid wouldn’t back down on Friday, either, issuing a statement calling for the release of more of the presumptive GOP nominee’s tax returns.
“Romney’s message to Nevadans is this: he won’t release his taxes, but he wants to raise yours,” Reid’s statement said. “It’s hard to say which is more insulting to Americans’ intelligence, Mitt Romney’s tax plan or his refusal to show the American people what’s in his tax returns.”
But asked why Romney won’t just release more of his tax returns to silence the attacks, the former Massachusetts governor said he is just following suit.
“I’m following the precedent set by the last presidential candidate of our party, John McCain, putting out two years of income tax returns and putting out a financial disclosure statement, those as required by law, of course,” Romney said.
Speaking to reporters during his first stateside press conference since last month’s jobs report, Romney said these attacks by the Senate majority leader – in addition to those by President Barack Obama – are not what the country should be focusing on right now.
“I had hoped it would be a debate on the direction of the country but what we are seeing instead is one attack after the other that are misleading, false attacks,” he said. “The president’s ads saying I am going to raise taxes on the middle class. That’s patently, simply false. The president has now raised taxes on the middle class as so determined by the Supreme Court.”