As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) doubled-down on his claim to have been told secrets about Mitt Romney’s tax returns, a top adviser for Romney’s campaign took to Fox News to accuse Reid of leading a witch hunt in the style of the Senate’s most famous witch hunter.
“His charges are baseless and untrue. I would ask him one simple question. Do you have no sense of decency, is there nothing you won’t do to debase the office you hold in the name of dirty politics?” Romney’s chief strategist Eric Fehrnstrom told Fox.
His references to former Sen. Joseph McCarthy didn’t stop there. “Again, this reminds me of the McCarthy hearings back in the 1950s, and it was another son from Massachusetts then, Joseph Welch who finally asked the question that should be asked of Harry Reid, which is, have you no sense of decency, sir,” Fehrnstom said. “Is there nothing that you won’t do in the name of dirty politics?”
On the Senate floor Thursday morning, Reid doubled down on his recent claim to have an anonymous source who says Romney didn’t pay federal taxes for 10 years.
“So the word’s out that he hasn’t paid any taxes for ten years,” Reid said. “Let him prove that he has paid taxes, because he hasn’t.”
Reid’s accusation has earned him scathing criticism from Jon Stewart, and — as Ferhnstrom showed — given the Romney campaign a new cause to rally around. Here’s video of Ferhnstrom name-dropping McCarthy:
Fehrnstrom also reiterated the Romney campaign claim that the two years of tax returns the campaign plans to release by Election Day are enough to satisfy voters, despite polling that shows otherwise.
It’s worth noting that McCarthy has been raised by Democrats in recent days as well. The anti-Communist crusade of the 1950s reminds some Democrats of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) new and controversial call to root out suspected Muslim extremist infiltration in the federal government.