Last night on Anderson Cooper’s 360 Degrees, CNN Senior Congressional correspondent Dana Bash confirmed that a second source claims Harry Reid’s source is a “credible person” who has the “authority and ability to know about Romney’s tax returns.” Bash’s confirmation of a second source was cut out of CNN’s online video in order to make room for a he-said she-said debate on the issue between Paul Begala and Mary Matalin.
Bash’s confirmation was largely ignored by Cooper, who was busy making false equivocations of Reid’s allegations to Michele Bachmann writing letters to governmental agencies calling for investigations of American citizens.
Here’s Dana Bash confirming a second source in the ten year no taxes allegation (it was cut out of the online video), transcript via CNN, emphasis mine:
BASH: It’s very personal and it is very Harry Reid. Look, first of all, let me just back up and say you pointed out the interview he gave with the “Huffington Post.” Again evidence, it’s a friendly outlet. They did it — he did this very strategically.
In terms of the personal, that is Harry Reid. I mean he — when he wanted to go after Alan Greenspan, he called him the partisan hack. When he went after President Bush, he called him a liar and a loser. He apologized for the loser part, not for liar.
But this is — when Harry Reid doesn’t like somebody, he goes for the jugular. And that is what he is doing now. He is an old boxer and he still likes to be a political street fighter. He knew full well that he was going to be questioned over and over again on who his source was. And he said — he’s told people close to him who I have spoken today that he didn’t care. He’s not telling going to tell who his source is.
But I did speak, I just have to tell you, that I did speak to one source who’s very close to Senator Reid who claims to also know who this Bain investor is that Reid spoke with, and insists that this is a credible person and this person if we knew the name we would understand that they would have the authority and the ability to know about Romney’s tax returns. Whether we’ll find it out ever, who knows. But they’re doing this on purpose so that this is the discussion.
Here’s the video where CNN, while claiming a lack of partisanship even after their rash of tea party hires and rather desperate attempt to emulate Fox News, chose not to include Dana Bash’s rather pertinent news re a second source, but instead chose the he-said she-said debate of meaningless talking points between Republican strategist Mary Matalin and Democratic strategist Paul Begala:
It’s ironic that Republican strategist Mary Matalin was busy claiming that Reid was putting the burden of proof on the accused – sort of like Republicans have been doing for years now, but more to the point, Mitt Romney as a candidate for President should have released his tax returns of his own volition.
Romney shouldn’t have to be forced into it. Romney is not the accused victim here — he made a decision to run for President, a job where every other candidate releases their tax returns, and he thought he could get away with not disclosing his tax returns. Romney made a choice to run for President knowing that he would not disclose his returns. He didn’t even disclose the one year he has given us thus far until he was pressured into it during the primaries.
Cooper, who isn’t to blame for CNN’s editing choices and is normally excellent, started off the Reid segment with this false equivocation, “For weeks, we’ve reported on Michele Bachmann and her four Republican House colleagues who are making unfounded allegations about Islamic radicals infiltrating the U.S. government. Making claims about relatives of Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Well, the standard should be no different for Democrats, independents, libertarians or anyone. Extraordinary allegations require extraordinary proof, or frankly any kind of proof. Michele Bachmann and company don’t even have ordinary proof, and neither so far does Senator Harry Reid. ”
Just to set the record straight, the two are not the same. Extraordinary allegations are one thing, McCarthy-esque calls for a government sanctioned witch hunt are another. This is not a fine point, but a rather glaring discrepancy. There is a reason Republicans were up in arms with Bachmann over the Huma Abedin allegations, and it had nothing to do with her making extraordinary allegations as she has done repeatedly in the not too distant past. She once called for an investigation of all Democrats in Congress on national TV, but she didn’t write to a government agency to actually put her witch hunt into motion as she did with Abelin.
Asking a government agency to investigate Americans based on nothing but their ethnicity is not the same thing as suggesting that Mitt Romney, who has refused to release his tax returns as every other candidate has done since his own father, isn’t releasing them because he didn’t pay taxes for ten years.
See, one thing is crazy and the other is plausible. Also, one thing is a call for an investigation ala McCarthy, and the other is a politician playing politics. For examples of unsourced allegations made by elected representatives, Cooper can see elected Republicans accusing Obama of gun running, of not having provided a valid birth certificate, of not having gone to Harvard, and calling for his impeachment over things that never happened just for starters. How about the very recent unproven charges against AG Eric Holder, with House Republicans charging him with contempt with no proof?
How does Cooper find an equivalency between Bachmann’s Abedin and Reid’s ten years of unpaid taxes? Did Reid, with no evidence, use his power as a government official to write the IRS and demand an investigation of Romney?
No, Reid didn’t do anything of the sort. Harry Reid is playing politics here, and he’s playing hardball. He knows Mitt Romney refuses to disclose his tax returns, so Romney can’t defend himself. Whose choice was that? It would be one thing if this was over an issue that was not the voters business, but Romney’s tax returns have historically been our business.
Romney claims special privilege, and so he has to pay the cost. The cost is that people are going to spend their time, as many pundits have, wondering WHY he will not disclose them. The best and most generous assessments have been that he didn’t do anything illegal, but probably didn’t pay much in taxes – he probably took advantage of every legal tax loophole out there. Mind you, this is the generous assessment.
But when a candidate will not disclose the most cursory of information, he can hardly be outraged when people speculate as to why. Romney left himself open to attack on this matter, and Reid isn’t going to let go.
Whether or not Dana’s second source who claims, “if we knew the name we would understand that they would have the authority and the ability to know about Romney’s tax returns” is accurate is another question – but it appears as if Romney may have a leak in the upper echelon of the Mormon church. And what if both the second source and Reid are right? It’s hardly a new concept that Romney probably didn’t pay much in taxes. His 2010 return was amended and even then he didn’t even pay 15%.
We now have two people claiming that the Reid source is solid. Why won’t Mitt Romney release the tax returns? President Obama had to release his long form birth certificate at the incessant request of “confused” Republicans who couldn’t read the first one or the Hawaiian papers, for heaven’s sake. These folks are hardly standing on solid ground as they play outraged and I’m unclear as to why Mitt Romney should be granted special privileges regarding disclosures.
Updated: 7:53 to correct the spelling of Huma Abedin’s name.