DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That’s right. We now have a couple of responses, Anderson. Let me read you the first one, that is, “Senator Reid stands by his comments. Governor Romney’s continued refusal to release his tax returns raises legitimate questions about what he is hiding and whether he paid any taxes at all. Governor Romney can easily end this debate by following the precedent set by his father and releasing his tax returns.”
And as you were coming on the air, Anderson, I got a follow-up like the statement, which also stands by what they call his credible source that Romney has not paid taxes for 10 years, and he’s calling Romney playing tricks, many tricks at his disposal for avoiding taxes. So not backing down at all.
I got to tell you, covering Harry Reid for a lot of years, there are times when he says things off the cuff that make his aides wince, like talking smelly tourists in the capitol. I’m not making this up. This is not one of those times.
This is one of those times where he knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s doing it on purpose. He’s doing it for political reasons because he wants this issue, Romney’s taxes, to be talked about on programs like yours, and wants it to be headlines in newspapers, and wants Mitt Romney to respond on this issue, which they think is a negative for Romney as opposed to issues that Romney wants to talk about.
COOPER: And I go back and forth, I’m with Paul Begala in a moment, who just tweeted out saying it’s — I cannot, that it’s unfair for me to compare what Reid is saying to what Bachmann did to Huma Abedin. But I’m not even arguing about the tax return issue here. To me, it’s just a question of making allegation like this for — you know, a powerful senator making allegations like this without any evidence.
That’s what I am trying to focus on. We’ll talk to Begala and Mary Matalin about it in a second. But in that interview that Reid gave to “Huffington Post,” he says about Romney, quote, “his poor father must be so embarrassed for his son,” what does that tell you? I mean that’s a very personal comment.
BASH: It’s very personal and it is very Harry Reid. Look, first of all, let me just back up and say you pointed out the interview he gave with the “Huffington Post.” Again evidence, it’s a friendly outlet. They did it — he did this very strategically.
In terms of the personal, that is Harry Reid. I mean he — when he wanted to go after Alan Greenspan, he called him the partisan hack. When he went after President Bush, he called him a liar and a loser. He apologized for the loser part, not for liar.
But this is — when Harry Reid doesn’t like somebody, he goes for the jugular. And that is what he is doing now. He is an old boxer and he still likes to be a political street fighter. He knew full well that he was going to be questioned over and over again on who his source was. And he said — he’s told people close to him who I have spoken today that he didn’t care. He’s not telling going to tell who his source is.
But I did speak, I just have to tell you, that I did speak to one source who’s very close to Senator Reid who claims to also know who this Bain investor is that Reid spoke with, and insists that this is a credible person and this person if we knew the name we would understand that they would have the authority and the ability to know about Romney’s tax returns. Whether we’ll find it out ever, who knows. But they’re doing this on purpose so that this is the discussion.
COOPER: Dana Bash, appreciate the reporting. Dana, thanks.