The last week has seen a furor over allegations made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the floor of the Senate.
Specifically the outrage was directed at Reid’s charge that he had been informed by an investor in Bain Capital that Romney had paid no income taxes for ten years.
As staunch a liberal icon as Jon Stewart delivered a scathing rebuke of Harry Reid on The Daily Show.
Over the weekend a close friend asked me why I didn’t speak out on this matter and join in the chorus of those denouncing Harry Reid for what was a blatantly political tactic.
My answer was that I did not feel that I had enough information to decide who was telling the truth.
I then raised to him what to me is the key question in this dispute. That question is, “Since John McCain reviewed twenty three years of Mitt Romney’s tax returns, why hasn’t he defended Romney against this charge?”
My friend responded by sending me a link to a Huffington Post article in which he believed McCain did exactly that.
Well, I read the article. The operative quotes from Senator McCain are: "’Everything was fine,’ McCain told reporters on Capitol Hill. ‘I can personally vouch for the fact that there was nothing in his tax returns that would in any way be disqualifying for him to be a candidate.’"
The article continued, “When pressed about whether Romney might be shielding his returns because he paid no taxes, McCain refused to discuss such specifics.
"’Please, I am not going to get into that kind of conversation,’ he said. ‘All I can tell you, and I can tell you again, is there was nothing disqualifying in his tax returns. And that is a fact.’"
Being somewhat familiar with political double talk I pointed out to my friend that all McCain needed to say was “Based upon what I saw in Mr. Romney’s returns, Senator Reid’s charges are not true.”
But Senator McCain did not say that. He merely said that there was nothing in the returns that would disqualify him from being a candidate. That sounds like a carefully considered legalistic dodge.
At this point I am withholding a judgment on the validity of Senator Reid’s allegations. However, the two people who are indisputably capable of proving the charges false, Mitt Romney and John McCain have not done so.