Dec. 27, 2014
Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

Harry Reid Takes Aim at Mitt Romney's '47 Percent' Comments

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), a self-proclaimed lover of baseball, has developed a fondness for a new pastime: attacking Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Today Reid took to the Senate floor, and later the cameras, to lob insults at Romney and highlight the former Massachusetts governor's latest campaign stumble, surreptitiously recorded statements to donors in Florida that 47 percent of Americans don't pay federal income taxes and would never vote for him. Romney said that would not "worry about those people."

"Remember, he's running for president of the United States, not a percentage of the states," Reid said. "The job of president is to fight for everybody, regardless of the wealth, social status or what political party they belong to."

Reid then circled back to question why Romney won't release records of his tax returns. It's a challenge he has repeatedly issued on the Senate floor, despite some complaints from Republicans that he is overly politicizing the chamber.

Reid has claimed that an investor at Romney's former firm, Bain Capital, told him that Romney has not paid taxes in 10 years. Though Reid has never divulged his source, Romney also has not released the returns.

"For all we know, Mitt Romney could be one of those who have paid no federal income tax. But since he refused to release his returns, except for the one year after he decided to run for president, we'll never know," Reid quipped.

While Reid basked in the spotlight, Senate Republicans tried to avoid it. Rank-and-file Members were swarmed as they tried to vote and lunch in the Capitol, but Senate GOP leaders did not take questions in front of the cameras at their weekly media availability, instead leaving Senators such as John Thune (S.D.) and Roy Blunt (Mo.) to gaggle with reporters.

Reid earlier had questioned the separation Hill Republicans have started to build between themselves and Romney.

"Well, we have a long line of people who are running from Romney as if the Olympics are still on," Reid said, throwing in the latest sports metaphor of the cycle. "We have [the] governor [of] New Mexico [who] is running really fast. We have [Sen. Scott] Brown in Massachusetts, he's sprinting out there. We have [Linda] McMahon in Connecticut running for the Senate, she's way out there. We have lots of people running from him. And obviously there's a good reason for running."

He even got in a jab at fellow Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (R), who told reporters earlier in the day that he has a "very different view of the world" from Romney and said, "I don't write anybody off."

"I'm told that Dean Heller is running [from Romney], but Dean's gotta be very careful because ... I think he recognized how toxic Romney's comments are, but that's interesting coming from someone who just a short time ago compared the unemployed people to hobos, that was his word, hobos," Reid said.

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