David McCabe, The Hill
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says he doesn’t regret saying in 2012 that Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes.
“No, I don’t regret that,” Reid said in an interview with CNN.
“No one would help me, they were afraid the Koch Brothers would go after them. So I did it on my own,” Reid said, referring to the billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch. “That’s what I felt I had to do.”
Reid’s relentless attacks on Romney’s tax returns — which the candidate refused to release at the time — drew a firestorm of criticism. Reid refused to reveal his source for the information even as he repeated the charge multiple times.
CNN’s Dana Bash asked Reid what he made of criticism that the tactic was similar in style to Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R), who would publicly accuse people of being communists.
“Well, they can call it whatever they want,” Reid responded. “Romney didn’t win, did he?”
Reid announced Friday that he will not run for reelection in 2016 — ending a long career that has saw him as one of the shrewdest tacticians in the Senate.
In the interview with CNN, Reid also took on the 2016 presidential field.
His harshest assessment were reserved for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is seen as the likely frontrunner in the Republican field if he should decide to run.
“I think he doesn’t know who he is,” Reid said. “Out of all candidates we’ve mentioned, I hope he loses.”
Reid had kinder words for other Republicans — particularly his Senate colleagues.
“Ted Cruz and I disagree on virtually everything. But on a personal basis, he’s been very nice to me. I don’t think he stands much of a chance, but I admire his tenacity for thinking he does,” he said of the Texas senator who announced he was running for president last week.
He also said he liked Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) personally.
Of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he said that the “country is ready for a woman.”