The Republican National Committee has accused David Axelrod of being the anonymous source behind Harry Reid's accusation that Mitt Romney didn't pay taxes for 10 years.
The theory, which was posited by RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer, rests on the assumption that Reid made the charge -- during an interview with The Huffington Post -- just hours after the Obama campaign's communications chief visited the Senate Democratic caucus.
"You've got to wonder if the so-called source is Axelrod himself," Spicer told CNN. "Hours after meeting with Axelrod, Reid comes out and makes baseless accusations?"
There are multiple problems with this. For one, Reid sources his claim about Romney to an anonymous Bain investor. And Axelrod, while many things, is not a Bain investor. Secondly, Axelrod himself denied the accusation in a statement to CNN.
But the most obvious reason Spicer is wrong is that Reid actually made the remarks about Romney's taxes the Thursday prior to Axelrod's visit.
The Huffington Post would know: We went to his office on Capitol Hill to do the interview the morning after the Senate passed a bill to extend the Bush tax cuts for incomes below $250,000. We wrote two other stories based off of that interview in the aftermath. The piece about Reid's claims regarding Romney's tax returns, however, was not written until later.
Indeed, one of the authors, Ryan Grim, could not have been at the Capitol interviewing Reid on Tuesday, as he was comfortably in a hammock, half-drunk on margaritas, in West Virginia.
"It was," Grim told The Huffington Post, "my most prolific vacation."
"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>.