CNN’s “State of the Union”
GRAHAM: “One last thing, you didn’t ask me about Harry Reid. I’ve been around this town for a while. 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 of knowing something about Romney. This is what’s wrong with America.”
CROWLEY: “That’s pretty stiff. You think the leader of the Senate is lying?”
GRAHAM: “I really do. I think he’s created an issue here. I think he’s making things up at a time when the country is just about to fall apart…. I just can’t let that pass. I just cannot believe that the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate would take the floor twice and make accusations that are absolutely unfounded, in my view, and, quite frankly, making things up to divert the campaign away from the real issues.”
ABC’s “This Week”
PRIEBUS: “As far as Harry Reid is concerned, listen, I know you might want to go down that road, I’m not going to respond to a dirty liar who hasn’t filed a single page of tax returns himself. Complains about people with money but lives in the Ritz Carlton here down the street. So if that’s on the agenda, I’m not going to go there. This is just a made-up issue. And the fact that we’re going to spend any time talking about it is ridiculous.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: “You say you are not going to respond, but you just called him a dirty liar. You stand by that, you think Harry Reid is a dirty liar?”
PRIEBUS: “I just said it.”
But with Ed Rollins saying on “Fox News Sunday” that Romney should put out additional years of returns, Reid has kept the story alive for another day, and likely into next week. And he couldn’t care less what Republicans say about him.
Robert Gibbs on CNN and David Axelrod on Fox in their own Sunday turns expertly avoided commenting on Reid’s tactics (although they were asked to repeatedly) and did their more-in-sadness-than-in-anger act suggesting that all Romney has to do is release more years and everything will be just fine.
But it is all status quo: Romney has no intention of releasing additional years; the media will keep demanding it; most Republicans will quietly gripe that Romney has handled this all badly; many Republicans will quietly argue that Romney should and will put out additional years; a few Republicans will continue to break ranks and publicly urge Romney to put out additional years; the Obama campaign and the White House will continue to laugh and laugh and laugh at how easily they have hijacked the debate, moved the spotlight off the economy, and put Romney on the defensive; and polls will show a mixed verdict on if the matter is hurting Romney or not.