John McCain FINALLY backs up Romney. Barely.
The Huffington Post reports:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose 2008 team reviewed years of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tax history as part of the vice presidential vetting process, said Monday that there was nothing in the former Massachusetts governor’s returns to suggest he ducked years of tax obligations.
“Ducked years of tax obligations” is a fascinating choice of words since it implies that Reid claimed Romney did something illegal. He did not. He specifically said that Romney “didn’t pay taxes for 10 years.” At no point did Reid suggest that Romney dodged his taxes. The very clear implication was that Romney used so many loopholes and accounting tricks that he legally paid nothing.
“I am absolutely confident that [Romney] … did pay taxes.” McCain told the Las Vegas Sun’s Jon Ralston during an interview set to air on his “Face to Face” program on Tuesday. “Nothing in his tax returns showed that he did not pay taxes.”
Last month, McCain also spoke broadly about Romney’s financial history, saying he could “personally vouch” that the presidential candidate’s returns contained nothing “disqualifying,” but declining to go into any specifics.
Translation? “It was legal.” Meaning that while Romney’s tax returns would outrage a majority of the country, it was all legal.
Claims of Romney’s alleged neglect of tax liabilities rose to the forefront of political debate late last month when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told The Huffington Post that a source — a former Bain investor — had told him that the Republican “didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years.”
Again, the language suggests that Reid accused Romney of illegal actions. He most definitively did not. Just to put this in perspective, the right has spent the last few years using the same verbiage when discussing President Obama’s ties to GE. They like to point out how GE “paid no taxes” and how this doesn’t seem to bother liberals (it does, by the way). There is no implication of wrong doing, just that GE used all the loopholes they could find to pay nothing in taxes.
Pay attention for this slight but important shift in how Reid’s allegations are discussed. You’ll be hearing more of it as the right tries to muddy the waters.