Dems have no shame going after Romney on a charge that they know is false
UPDATE: Finally, after Democrats and the White House have been defending Harry Reid's claim that Romney hasn't paid income taxes for 10 years, the White House slightly distances itself from Reid's attacks. Ultimately in response ABC's Jon Karl, Carney says that he hasn't discussed the issue with the president.
News White House correspondent Ed Henry: "The charge is not that Mitt Romney paid less than a factory worker, or whatever, but it's a bit more vicious than that from Harry Reid. He said he has an anonymous source telling him that [Romney] paid no taxes for something like 10 years. So the president has talked a lot about change in the tone of this town. Why hasn't he picked up the phone to ask Harry Reid to stop making a charge like that?"
Jay Carney: "I think the idea that people tell Harry Reid what to do is inconsistent with what everyone here understands to be [the case]. . . . You hear the president going out and talking about the important issues facing the American people every day . . ." Long discussion about outsourcing of jobs and the tax code that supposedly encourages that and a discussion about taxes paid by hedge fund managers.
Henry: "That's not the charge. The charge is that he didn't pay taxes for ten years. Does the White House believe that allegation?"
Carney: "Yeah, I would refer you to Senator Reid. I can't -- only Senator Reid knows his source, which he has discussed. And I would refer you to that. I think that it is a fair point to make that this is an issue that was not originated during the general election campaign that did not start with the president's campaign or with Senator Reid . . . ." [My comment: this is of course false. No one previously said that Romney had not been paying taxes.]
Henry: "Nancy Pelosi today said, 'Harry Reid made a statement that is true. Somebody told him it is a fact.' Do you agree with that rationale?"
Carney: "I haven't seen that statement. Again, I would refer you to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid."
Henry: "Harry Reid says he hasn't paid taxes in 10 years and that's just a fact?" He
Carney: "I think the President is focused on -- and you hear him say this every day -- issues that matter to the American people. . . ."
Jon Karl from ABC News: "One more on Harry Reid. It's a simple question. Does the president think that this allegation coming from Harry Reid, without any evidence, made on the Senate floor, is that below the belt? Does that cross the line?"
Carney: "Again, the president has not expressed an opinion to me on this. I can tell you that the president is focused on issues that I have just talked about. . . . The issue here is one of transparency and, again, as the president sees it, in regards to his candidacy, one, it is an important tradition. It allows the American people to get a sense of the candidate's background."