(News Max) – Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is lying about Mitt Romney’s tax returns in order to divert the presidential campaign away from real issues.
At the end of an interview with Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Graham unloaded on Reid, saying, “I’ve been around this town for awhile—I actually like Harry—but what he did on the floor of the Senate is so out of bounds. I think he’s lying about his statement about knowing something about Romney’s [tax returns]…”
That sentiment was echoed on ABC, where Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus called Reid a “dirty liar” this morning on “This Week” for accusing presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney of not paying taxes.
“I’m not going to respond to a dirty liar who hasn’t filed a single page of tax returns himself,” Priebus said. When asked if he wanted to take back that phrase, Priebus said he stood by his comment.
Reid, the Democratic Senate Majority Leader from Nevada, has said in repeated interviews that, according to a source that called his office, Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for ten years.
The accusation was strongly denounced by Romney, who said it was false and that Reid needed to “put up or shut up.” Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts has been under intense pressure by Democrats and even some in the GOP to release more tax returns.
Graham continued, “I think he’s created an issue here. I think he’s making things up at a time when the country’s just about to fall apart.”
Reid, a fellow Mormon, repeated the charges in a statement released by his office, accusing Romney of “hiding something.”
“I just can’t let that pass,” Graham told Crowley. “I just cannot believe that the Majority Leader of the United States Senate would take the floor twice, make accusations that are absolutely unfounded in my view, and, quite frankly, making things up to divert the campaign away from the real issues.”
When pressed by Crowley during the following segment for response to Reid’s statement on the Senate floor and whether it was appropriate, Obama campaign aide Robert Gibbs refused to answer directly.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell also lashed out on Sunday at Reid’s thus-far baseless allegation.
“This is a reckless and slanderous charge by Harry Reid,” McDonnell said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “This is a guy who hasn’t released his own returns and for three years, can’t get a budget passed in the United States Senate.
“People don’t care about Mitt Romney’s tax returns. They are [worried] about their own tax returns, and the taxes that are going to be increased under President Barack Obama, where nearly a million small business people are getting a whopping tax increase. That’s the issue in this race,” McDonnell said, adding that Democrats are simply trying to change the subject from jobs and spending.
“This is a more, change the situation, hide the ball, where they don’t want to focus on jobs and the economy, and spending and debt and deficits and energy because their record is so bad, the Republican governor said. “And, of course, they’re trying to change the subject to tax returns.”
“You know what we know about his tax returns? He’s paid his taxes. He’s a very generous man. And he’s made a lot of money because he’s been successful. Why don’t we start talking about the things that are important, that people and going to vote about and that’s jobs and spending.”