A second source, said to be "close to Senator [Harry] Reid," has told CNN's Dana Bash that Reid's original source for the claim that Mitt Romney "didn't pay any taxes for 10 years" exists, is a "Bain investor" and a "credible person." Dana Bash reported on this source, and the person's willingness to corroborate the allegation to which the Senate majority leader repeated on Thursday's airing of CNN's AC360.
As Bash told the show's host, Anderson Cooper:
I did speak to one source who is very close to Senator Reid who claims to also know who the Bain investor is that Reid spoke with, and insists that it is a credible person and this person if we knew the name we would understand they would have the authority and the ability to know about Romney's tax returns.
"Whether we'll find it out ever," Bash added, "who knows? They're doing it on purpose, so this is the discussion."
Indeed, in the days since the Huffington Post first reported on Reid's claim, Reid has done nothing to back down. The Romney camp on Thursday responded by insisting that Reid "put up or shut up." Reid, on the other hand, has made it clear that the burden of disproving his claim lies with Romney.
This was reinforced in a statement from Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson, which Bash read on the air: "Senator Reid stands by his comments. Governor Romney's continued refusal to release his tax returns raises legitimate questions about what he is hiding and whether he paid any taxes at all. Governor Romney can easily end this debate by following the precedent set by his father and releasing tax returns."
Bash offered her take on the matter, based on her years of covering Reid:
There are times [Reid] says things off the cuff that make his aides wince, like talking about smelly tourists in the Capitol -- I'm not making this up. This is not one of those times. This is one of those times he knows exactly what he's doing. He's doing it on purpose, he is doing it for political reasons, because he wants this issue -- Romney's taxes -- talked about on programs like yours, wants it to be headlines in newspapers and wants Mitt Romney to respond on this issue which they think is a negative for Romney, as opposed to issues Romney wants to talk about.
Bash called Reid's decision to get into this fight to be "very personal" and "very Harry Reid."
"When Harry Reid doesn't like somebody, he goes for the jugular."
So to recap: Dana Bash's anonymous source says Harry Reid's anonymous source is right, and it's yet to occur to Romney that he could easily end all of this and claim Harry Reid's scalp just by releasing his tax returns.
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"Politically, I think that would help him," Paul said in a interview with <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78599.html#ixzz20w7ycTBE" target="_hplink">Politico</a>. "In the scheme of things politically, you know, it looks like releasing tax returns is what the people want."
"I have no idea on why he has restricted the number to this point," <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57474352/pressure-mounts-on-mitt-romney-to-release-more-tax-returns/?tag=socsh" target="_hplink">Lugar said</a>.
"I don't know why... he didn't get all of this out and tidy up some of his offshore accounts and all the rest," Will said on ABC's "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/15/george-will-mitt-romney-bain_n_1674513.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HP%2FPolitics+(Politics+on+The+Huffington+Post)" target="_hplink">This Week</a>." "He's done nothing illegal, nothing unseemly, nothing improper, but lots that's impolitic."
"He should release the tax returns tomorrow. It's crazy," Kristol said on "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/15/mitt-romney-tax-returns_n_1674325.html" target="_hplink">Fox News Sunday</a>." "You gotta release six, eight, 10 years of back tax returns. Take the hit for a day or two."
"I just believe in total transparency," Bentley told <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/07/gop-governor-calls-on-mitt-romney-to-release-additional-tax-returns-and-show-he-has-nothing-to-hide/" target="_hplink">ABC News</a>. "In fact, I was asked today that question -- do you think that Governor Romney should release his tax returns? And I said I do. I said, I release my tax returns. I may be the only public official in Alabama that does, but I release mine every year and I just believe that people should release their tax returns. And if you get them out and just get past that, it just makes it so much easier."
When asked on "<a href="http://www.nationaljournal.com/2012-presidential-campaign/barbour-romney-should-release-more-tax-returns-20120710" target="_hplink">The Situation Room</a>" if Romney should release more returns, Barbour said, "I would. But should it be an issue in the campaign? I don't think it amounts to diddly."
"If there's nothing there, there's no 'there' there, don't create a there,'" Steele said on MSNBC.
"Tax returns the next problem. Releasing returns under pressure: more weakness, more pain," Frum <a href="https://twitter.com/davidfrum/status/224509505973661696" target="_hplink">tweeted</a>.