Then and now: Harry Reid on making baseless accusations
Last week Harry Reid accused Mitt Romney of failing to pay taxes for ten years. He made this claim with no evidence, siting an anonymous phone call he received by someone he claimed was close to Mitt Romney. This was a baseless claim designed for one reason and one reason only–smear the Republican nominee and sow the seeds of doubt about Mitt Romney’s trustworthiness with the voters.
When reporters pressed Harry Reid about his comments he refused to back down and in fact reasserted the baseless claim that Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for a decade. When reporters asked him to reveal his source he remained indignant and declared he didn’t think “the burden should be on me” to prove the claims were true, but rather based solely on his accusation Mitt Romney is the one who should prove the claim is false. Harry Reid’s philosophy appears to be this: any accusation made by anyone is a serious charge and because of this that person is obligated to prove the claim false even if there is no evidence to indict that person. A person is guilty until proven innocent.
But apparently Harry Reid didn’t always feel this way. Some thirty years ago Harry Reid was accused, without evidence, of being in bed with the mob:
Mobster Joe Agosto was caught on tape by the FBI boasting that “I gotta Clean Face in my pocket”–and “Clean Face,” it was suggested at the time, was none other than Harry Reid himself
Harry Reid was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing but in 2008 Harry Reid wrote an autobiography in which he spoke about this issue. This is what he had to say:
Terrible claims had been released by federal agents without a shred of substantiating evidence that created, in Bunker’s words, an “aura of distrust.” To me, the whole period was the worst time in my family’s life.
He lamented the fact that federal agents made baseless claims about him which caused an “aura of distrust” toward him, and yet now he is doing the very same thing to Mitt Romney. He, of all people, should understand what can happen to somebody when baseless accusations are thrown around but that doesn’t seem to matter to him anymore because what is most important to him is holding on to his power in the Senate by any means necessary.