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December 20, 2014

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Romney’s offensive comments raise doubts

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We learn the most about someone’s character not from what he does when he knows others are watching but from what he does when he thinks they aren’t.

We’ve learned an awful lot of troubling things about Mitt Romney recently. First, his sweeping, closed-door condemnation of President Barack Obama’s supporters revealed the disdain he has for half the population he hopes to serve. Then, the limited tax returns Romney selectively released confirmed that he’s willing to share information about the time he’s been in the public eye and running for president, but not the time he was running the corporation he touts as his sole qualifying credential for the highest office in the land.

When he thought no one was listening, Romney accused 47 percent of Americans of not taking responsibility for their lives, painting them as lounging in government dependency — a conclusion he reached because, for various legitimate reasons, they are exempt from paying federal income taxes.

Romney stands not only on shaky ethical grounds in making that indiscriminate generalization — he’s also on flimsy factual footing. The 47 percent Romney derides as self-pitying “victims” includes seniors who live on a fixed income thanks to the Social Security they paid into and earned over a lifetime of hard work, our troops in combat zones and veterans who have fought for our country. It includes students studying to get the skills that will win them the jobs of the future and decent Americans actively looking for work because their jobs were outsourced by companies such as those Romney specialized in developing. Most of them pay plenty of payroll, property, local and state taxes.

None of these Americans is looking for a handout or shortcut. That Romney waited until he thought all the cameras and microphones were off before insulting the millions he belittled as “those people” unworthy of his concern calls into question his judgment, leadership and fitness for the public trust. If you’re not willing to fight for every American, you don’t deserve to represent any of them.

The second lesson we learned came at another time Romney thought no one was looking: He released his 2011 tax returns late on a Friday afternoon in the hopes of making the smallest news splash possible.

What was he trying to hide? Perhaps that, despite his tough talk on China, he profited from investments in a state-owned Chinese oil company and a video company known for pirating copyrighted content. Or that, despite calling Russia our “No. 1 geopolitical foe” and his fiery rhetoric against Iran, he invested in Russia’s state-owned oil giant, which does business with Iran. Or that the candidate with the slogan “Believe in America” has been betting against the U.S. dollar by buying foreign currencies and keeping his investments in the Caymans and Bermuda. Or maybe he was hoping no one would notice that he paid just 14 percent of his $14 million income, a rate lower than many middle-class families pay.

Romney’s pre-weekend release was one big head fake, hoping that the measly two years of tax returns he has released would distract us from remembering that he still hasn’t released a single one from before his candidacy. It would be far more helpful for voters to see what tax loopholes he was exploiting and which foreign accounts he was favoring over American institutions when he didn’t know he’d ever have to reveal them. And since Romney likes to divide people based on what income tax rate they pay, it would certainly help to know his own — and whether he includes himself in the 47 percent he thinks aren’t pulling their weight.

Here’s what we know: Romney has these records ready — he gave John McCain 23 years’ worth before he lost the vice presidential nomination to Sarah Palin and gave his accountants 20 years so they could release a CliffsNotes version that voters have no way of verifying. We also already know this self-described “severely conservative” man takes some pretty liberal deductions; now we know that includes writing off half of the country.

The offensive comments Romney hoped would stay private and the remaining tax returns that he’s still withholding from the American people are important because they are windows into the character, values and priorities of someone who could drive our nation’s economic policy.

Obama wants to eliminate the special loopholes Romney exploits but that are unavailable to most Americans; Romney, of course, wants to protect them. Romney also plans to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for even more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. He may mock redistributive policies, but Romney is proposing the largest redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top in American history.

Recognizing he’s president of all Americans, Obama has a different plan: Everyone should pay their fair share so we can responsibly reduce the deficit in a balanced way and make investments in areas proven to fuel growth from the middle out, such as education, jobs, innovation and energy. It’s a plan the president believes in and has made public for all to see. He’s the only candidate in this race who believes those should be one and the same.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is the majority leader of the U.S. Senate.

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  1. dirty harry:

    I'll bet you $10,000 you'll never get a temple call.

    CarmineD

  2. Romney claims he is the only candidate for President who believes in American exceptionalism but he doesn't put HIS money where his mouth is.

  3. dirty harry:

    Mea culpa. I stand corrected. Instead of "temple call" I should have posted "temple recommendation."

    CarmineD

  4. Pretty much spot on, but will not stop about 45 % of Americans from voting for this guy.

  5. Comment removed by moderator. Off Topic

  6. 'Roslenda'...

    Speak for yourself.

    Ol' Harry is right on the mark, IMO.

    The Tin Man is not Presidential material.

    http://www.gq.com/news-politics/politics...

  7. Agreed. Harry Reid is dead-on about Romney here. He's not just bad for Americans, but a threat to us as well. Reid is right that Romney's main goal is to further protect special interests of the rich at the expense of regular Americans.

    @ Roslenda (Roberta Anderson)
    I seem to remember that the congressional budgetary issues were a direct results of the Tea Party's ridiculously ignorant interference, and not Reid's, nor even many other Republican's faults. Offense to Nevadans? Gee whiz, I dunno. He only helped shut down Yucca Mountain to stop the importation of High-Level Nuclear Waste into Nevada. Nevada only produces 80% of all gold mined in the U.S., and contains the highest amount of rare-earth minerals outside of China, and Reid has only fought to help mining here continue so people can have jobs, as well as worked to diversify Vegas' economy. He's also helped secure more tax dollars for transportation projects that YOU take advantage of.

    The only embarrassment her are people such as yourself whom for whatever reasons of prejudice of party lines or religion (looking at you CarmineD [Carmine DiFazio]) are quick to ignorantly attack someone rather than as you say "work with" them.

  8. I guess Harry thinks the "light skinned" guy is the better choice from the selctive comments he makes. Some are truths like the millions Mitt has given to charity and he released the tax returns required by law. Is Harry afraid he won't have Mitt's substainal tax payments to waste on spending bills next year?? Someone paying taxes and giving away to charity almost 1/2 of thier 14 million dollar income is not enough for Harry? Really?
    Harry you are heling give away part of Clark County to the Chinese right now, with your son at the lead, you should talk!

  9. I am not a particular fan of Reid, but this analysis of Romney was brilliant and capsulizes why no thinking voter should ever support him. Romney is simply a liar and out-of-touch at all levels.

  10. Sorry to tell you far lefties, but he's right on when he describes the welfare gang as victims who think I should pay for their food, housing, medical care, and everything else. Why don't you all put your money where your mouths are? How about leading the way and volunteering to have 50% of your money taken by the govenment to give to the freeloaders? I'm willing to bet that none of you will actually put that in writing to the IRS. No, it's much easier to steal the money from those of us who have more, even though we went to school and worked hard to get what we have. While conservatives are quite hypocritical, liberals are far worse in this respect. All talk with little substance.
    By the way, haven't you noticed how well the socialist countries of Europe are doing with their give-a-ways for the past few decades? We'll be rioting in the streets if Obama gets re-elected because he will then give away the farm in total.

  11. DMC: Sort your issues and factoids. However much gold Nevada produces has nothing to do with Congressional failure to act. Harry's incessant spending is not helping any of us, particularly Nevadans--highest unemployment rate, foreclosure capital, sanctuary cities throughout the state.... Harry takes pot shots at those he should be NEGOTIATING with. He's supposed to be leading us out of this economic turmoil, not making it worse.

  12. Joel, Michael did the math too. There aren't enough rich people (or they aren't rich enough by a factor of thousands) to tax them enough to pay for all the welfare Harry hands out. So the rich should be ashamed of working and producing while those who refuse to work are to be emulated???

  13. I am sick of hearing about religion in Politics, whether it is the Catholic Bishops who demand their priorities become law, including the the threats to their followers and protection of pedophiles, the "religious right" which acts more like the Taliban, or the Mormon, former Pastor, running for President, who lies blatantly to gain power.

    There are always ways to discredit the powerful on the basis of religious hypocrisy.

    There is good reason why there is a separation of Church and State, and it is becoming more and more obvious.

    It is best to keep religion out of the conversations.

  14. A terrorist for a best friend, a race baiting preacher for your spiritual adviser. Friends include the Black Panthers and he appoints a smut peddling lawyer to the DOJ. Adds a tax cheat to Head the IRS and continues to gut the military and make friends with the worst dictators of the world while ignoring our allies. Yup, that's our President. Harry Reid's answer to the nations problems... ..

  15. The paranoia and perverted ideas of the right wing views would be almost laughable if it weren't pathological, and the nourishment of fascism.

    Fortunately, most voters are normal people, with normal concerns, and rational views on both sides.

    It is clear who has benefited in our country, and who has not. It is clear where the protection of those benefiting comes from, and where it comes from for those suffering the results of the global economic crisis.

  16. "The only embarrassment her are people such as yourself whom for whatever reasons of prejudice of party lines or religion (looking at you CarmineD [Carmine DiFazio]) are quick to ignorantly attack someone rather than as you say "work with" them."

    The oft quoted comment by Minority Senate Leader McConnell was made a full 2 years after President Obama was elected. And for good cause. In those 2 years, Obama locked out the minority party and took an " I can do it without you" approach. Then came the mid term elections of 2010 and Obama had to eat crow and still.

    CarmineD

  17. This letter was one correct fact after another and left nothing to the imagination, whereas Romney's speeches are winding tirades say little with as many words as possible.

    Romney says we have 'a moral obligation' to follow Israel into a land invasion of Iran should they choose to invade. They today, he claims (today's headlines) that Obama's policies are "moving (the US) dangerously closer to being pulled into the region's chaos".

    Romney is a pathological liar. He is a very devious purveyor of religion for peace while trying to get support for another 8 year war with Iran. He wants to loan his friend Bibi the US Military free of charge. Romney is twisted from too many years selling free floating dreams of salvation that will never come to the sheep that wait to be sheered.

  18. Give Romney hell, Harry! Romney deserves it, and more!
    And the American people deserve to know, what was Romney doing, fundraising in the UK and Israel? Who are his foreign donors and what did Romney promise in return? We don't know, and might never know, who was behind the murders in Benghazi? Romney and the neo-cons have been denouncing our President while pushing Bibi's agenda. Romney and the same treasonous neo-cons who lied to us about WMD in Iraq. America is not Bibi's servant!

  19. So what did Reid learn from President Obama's unguarded moment when he told the Russian he would have more flexibility once he was re-elected?

    Romney's candid remark was merely offensive, Obama's was downright scary.

    It should be remembered that during the 2008 campaign, while Obama was publicly decrying NAFTA, he sent a private message to members of the Canadian government saying those remarks were for public consumption and he didn't really feel that way.

    Also during the 2008 campaign, Obama said he would vote against renewing the Patriot Act, yet when the time came he voted for it.

    Mr. Reid, given Obama's documented statements and subsequent contrary actions, how can we possibly know what his true beliefs are?

  20. "We don't know, and might never know, who was behind the murders in Benghazi? "

    Al Qaeda. It seems everybody knows all over the world except you, President Obama, Jay Carney, Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice who all blamed a Youtube video. The whole world knew it on September 11, despite what the President and his minions said about the Youtube video and still.

    CarmineD