Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said on Friday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's source for the disputed information that he had not paid taxes for years could be from the White House or President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.
"Harry is simply wrong, and that's why I'm so anxious for him to produce the names of the people who have put this forward," Romney said at a news conference in North Las Vegas on Friday, responding to Reid's repeated allegations that he paid no taxes for 10 years.
"I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear the names are people from the White House or the Obama campaign," Bloomberg quoted the former Mass. governor as saying. Romney also said, "I have paid taxes every year, and a lot of taxes -- a lot of taxes."
The Huffington Post quoted Reid as claiming Tuesday that an anonymous investor with Romney's former private equity firm Bain Capital told him on phone that the Republican candidate had not paid taxes for a decade.
Reid repeated the allegation on Thursday on the Senate floor. "The word's out that he hasn't paid any taxes for 10 years," he said. "Let him prove he has paid taxes because he hasn't."
Romney has released personal income tax returns for 2010, and said his accountants were preparing the 2011 returns. Romney told reporters he did not want to release tax returns beyond 2010 and 2011 lest Democrats "distorted it."
Romney said Reid and other Democrats were trying to "deflect the fact that jobs numbers are bad, that Americans are out of work, and you are trying to throw anything up on the screen that will grab attention away from the fact that the policies of the White House haven't worked to put Americans back to work."
Reid must "describe who it is he spoke with because of course that's totally and completely wrong," Romney said on Sean Hannity's radio show on Thursday. "It's untrue, dishonest and inaccurate. It's wrong. So I'm looking forward to have Harry reveal his sources and we'll probably find out that it's the White House."
Romney also asked Reid to "put up or shut up."
John McCain has defended Romney, saying Reid may have "gone over the line." "I've known Sen. Reid for many, many years, and occasionally he displays some rather erratic behavior," McCain said on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360." "To accuse someone of doing something without a shred of proof – that the allegation has any substance – is really something I, frankly, don't understand."
"I think politics are tough. I enjoy the give and take but I think Harry might have gone over the line," McCain said.