Damage Control: White House Distances Itself from Reid over Tax Remarks

Kate Hicks

8/6/2012 4:28:00 PM - Kate Hicks

Harry Reid’s smeartastic, possibly-maybe-this-is-a-fact-but-maybe-it-isn’t allegation that Mitt Romney committed major tax evasion for a decade finally seem to have jarred the White House. In a press conference today, embattled press secretary Jay Carney attempted to put some space between Senate Majority Leader Reid and President Obama, although Carney wouldn’t go so far as to outright condemn Reid.

The best he could offer was that Harry Reid “speaks for himself,” and, "I think the President is focused on -- and you hear him say this every day -- issues that matter to the American people," which, as RealClearPolitics said, suggests “that Reid's accusation is not an issue that matters.”

Watch Carney try to weasel his way out of the tough questions:

Of course, as Guy noted this weekend, Reid’s alleged source is the White House itself. So perhaps Obama himself won’t talk about this issue because “he doesn’t think it matters,” but that doesn’t mean someone on his team fed these lies to Reid’s people. And, conveniently, Carney took the opportunity to reiterate that Obama wants Romney to release his tax returns: “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.”

So really, despite Carney lame attempts to dissociate Reid’s remarks from the president, it seems that Team Obama isn’t too terribly upset that the tax return conversation is still happening. They just don’t necessarily want to be the ones keeping it in the headlines with sensational, factually dubious claims, and are happy to pass on the dirty work to a guy who is so unpopular he might not run for reelection in 2016.

Class, class, class.