Harry Reid has claimed on more than one occasion that a source with close ties to Bain Capital informed him that the Romneys paid absolutely no taxes in one or more years over the past 10 years. This is a serious accusation that has obviously damaged the Romney campaign and Mitt Romney’s personal standing with the American people - we don’t like rich guys who game the system and pay little or no taxes while we work hard to make ends meet and pay exactly, or close to, our marginal rate to the US Treasury.
In an effort to settle this controversy, the Obama campaign has offered to end all discussion of the issue if the Romneys release a complete set of returns for years 2012-2012. I don’t think that’s enough. Democrats need to be held accountable. Harry Reid knows how harmful his accusations have been and he should be forced to publicly apologize if the Romneys conclusively establish that Reid’s accusations are false.
Thus, if the Romneys release a full set of returns for 2002-2012 and those returns show that the Romneys had an effective tax rate greater than 0% in each of those years, the DNC and Reid should agree to spend $5M on a national ad in which Reid speaks directly into the camera, with a blank purple background and no music nor props, and says exactly as follows:
I am Harry Reid, I am a Democrat and I am currently the Senate Majority Leader in the United States Senate. Over the past month, I have publicly claimed, based on information provided to me by a person who I believed to be a reliable source, that Mitt Romney did not pay any taxes in one or more years during the past 10 years. I was effectively accusing the Romneys of having a 0% effective tax rate in one or more of those years. These accusations that I was making were very serious, and potentially very damaging to the Romney campaign.
I now know that my accusations were incorrect. I was wrong. Mitt Romney has released his tax returns for the past 10 years and it is clear that Mitt Romney paid taxes every year during the past 10 years. Mitt Romney had a positive effective tax rate in each of those years. The following graphic shows the Romneys' effective tax rate for years 2002 through 2012.
[cut to graphic and then back to Reid]
Again, I was wrong and I sincerely apologize to the Romney campaign.