It was strange from the very beginning a Senior member of the Senate, the Majority leader claiming some mysterious anonymous source told him that Mitt Romney has not paid taxes for ten years.  Which of course is a strange charge for someone who has not released his tax returns for the past three years while Romney has released all of his financial disclosures and his 2010 returns. He plans to release 2011 as soon as they are done (mine aren’t done either).

At first the Democrats were all over this, it fit into the Obama strategy of talk about anything but his record as President.  But in the days since the ridiculous charge was made, little by little Democrats have been trying to move away from the majority leader.

On Sunday’s Face the Nation, Host and liberal apologist Bob Schieffer went on the attack as he interviewed former Ohio governor and Obama mouthpiece Ted Strickland and compared Harry Reid’s tactics to Joe McCarthy:

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me go to you, Governor Strickland. You have been pounding Mitt Romney for not releasing his tax returns, and you have repeated what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been saying that Mitt Romney may have paid no taxes in all of, in some of those years. You know, this morning Reince Priebus who’s the chairman of the Republican Party, said I think over on Fox, that, that Harry Reid is a dirty liar. And I have to say, he has shown nothing, no evidence to substantiate that charge. He just says he heard it from somebody. Do you have any proof that Mitt Romney paid no taxes in some years?

TED STRICKLAND: No, but Mr. Romney could give us the proof that he has paid taxes consistently. The fact is, Bob, Mitt Romney wants the American people to trust him with the presidency, but he won’t trust us with his tax returns. All he has to do is release his tax returns. The question that I think is this: why is Mitt Romney refusing to give us his tax returns?

SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, I take your point, Governor, but isn’t this kind of like Joe McCarthy back in the era when he said, “I have here in my hand the names of 400 people in the state department who are communist?” It turned out he didn’t and he was saying the way to prove that they’re not is for them to come forward here. I mean, asking somebody to come forward to, to just because there’s been an unsubstantiated charge, that’s a little thin to me.

Today liberal Washington Post Columnist Richard Cohen called Reid’s charges gutter politics and wrote

In “The Godfather Part II,” a senator from Nevada is portrayed as corrupt. His name is Pat Geary. In real life, a senator from Nevada is a jerk. His name is Harry Reid.

Reid is where he loves to be: the center of controversy. He has accused Mitt Romney of paying no taxes for 10 years. Romney denies the accusation and challenged Reid to put up or shut up. In an apparent response, Reid repeated the charges on the Senate floor. Countless aides have echoed their boss. They and he attribute their information to a source they will not name.

Whether such a source exists, really, is beside the point. It could be that someone did indeed tell Reid that Romney paid no taxes for 10 years. Journalists get that sort of tip all the time, and their responsibility is (1) to check it out and (2) identify the source. Reid has not done the latter and apparently has not done the former, either. The truth is that Reid doesn’t really care if the charge is true or not. He would prefer the former, but he’ll settle for the latter.

Perhaps the biggest and at the same time the most subtle slam came from the White House, which today announced they would leave poor Harry dangling.  They announced that Reid is on his own.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Monday that Reid (D-Nev.) “speaks for himself” and had spoken on the issue without any guidance from Team Obama.

“He certainly speaks for himself,” Carney said, adding that Obama hasn’t expressed an opinion on Reid’s recent comments.

But Carney said Reid’s comments speak to a “broader question” about the president’s views on income taxes, saying that a “tradition” which “has been in place since 1968 of candidates for the president releasing multiple years of their tax returns is an important one.”

 Sure it is important, it is important to divert attention away from Obama’s lousy record as president.  In his last run for the job in 2008, Obama’s opponent also released the previous two years’ returns, but it was OK then because the Democrat didn’t have a record to avoid.

As for Harry, expect him to read the tea leaves become a good soldier and move on to some other slander about the Republican candidate…its the party tradition.