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Tags: Thompson | Reid | McCarthy | blush

Fred Thompson: Harry Reid 'Would Make Joe McCarthy Blush’

Tuesday, 07 August 2012 10:49 AM EDT

Harry Reid’s wild claim that Mitt Romney hasn’t paid taxes for 10 years reveals the Nevada Democrat to be “the small, little man he is,” his former Senate colleague Fred Thompson has charged.

“Harry Reid is a classic example of the Peter Principle . . . You know, inconsequential and all,” Thompson told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Monday.

“He goes to the Senate floor to announce an anonymous accusation, which would have made Joe McCarthy blush.”

Reid has been at the center of a firestorm since alleging in an interview last Tuesday that he had been told by an investor at Romney’s former company Bain Capital that the GOP presidential challenger had not paid taxes for 10 years. Two days later he made the same accusation on the Senate floor.

Reid offered no proof and would not reveal the name of his source. He even admitted that he did not know whether his accusation was true.

He came under intense fire over the weekend with attacks from both Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham calling him a liar.

Liberal talk show host Jon Stewart called Reid “really, really terrible,” adding, “Here’s a rule of thumb: if you have to follow your claim with the words, ‘I don’t know if that’s true,’ then shut up.”

Romney himself has urged Reid to come up with proof, telling him to “put up or shut up.”

On Tuesday, National Review editor Rich Lowry, also compared Reid to McCarthy, the Wisconsin senator who smeared hundreds as communist sympathizers during the 1950s.

“Old Tail Gunner Joe was deflated at the Army-McCarthy hearings when he was confronted with the famous question, "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" In the case of Harry Reid, it isn't even worth asking,” Lowry said in his Newsmax column.

“Ordinarily, before repeating such a charge publicly, one would want a little proof, especially given that there's no more reason that a Bain investor would be familiar with Mitt Romney's tax returns than a Facebook investor would be familiar with Mark Zuckerberg's,” wrote Lowry.

Harry Reid, though, is liberated from all such mundane evidentiary standards. Not to mention logic. His statements on Romney's tax returns lurch from outlandish premise to completely unconnected conclusion. Listening to Reid try to make an argument is like watching the late besotted journalist Hunter Thompson try to solve a quadratic equation while high on acid.”

To add to Reid’s woes, The Washington Post gave him its highest rating of ‘four Pinocchios” for his claim.

However, political insiders suggest that none of the attacks will make Reid change his ways. He doesn’t have to face election for his Nevada Senate seat until 2016, and is thought likely to retire then. He is also said to relish his role as president Barack Obama’s “attack dog,”

Thompson, a Tennessee Republican, who ran for president in 2008, encouraged Romney “to stay tough” in the face of Reid’s call for him to release more of his tax returns and the negative campaign being waged against him by President Barack Obama.

“I’d tell him to fly a kite,” Thompson advised Romney, suggesting one way to handle Reid.

Thompson is now a full-time actor, most recently seen in the big-screen Hank Williams biography, “The Last Ride.” He is most famous for his role as District Attorney Arthur Branch in the long-running television show “Law & Order,”

He said Romney gains nothing by releasing his taxes. “It’s the only thing where if you do everything that’s right, totally moral, totally legal . . . it still turns out to be a negative when it’s revealed because of somebody’s notion of how much taxes you should have paid, more than what you’re required to pay.”

He called on Romney to “put it aside” and instead “put meat on the bones” in terms of explaining to voters what he intends to do as president to keep America strong and prosperous.

Thompson characterized the president’s negative campaign aimed at portraying Romney as a rich candidate out of touch with the problems confronting most Americans as “personal, mean and vicious.” But he predicted it would end up doing a “tremendous amount of damage” to Obama’s bid for re-election.

“I just don’t think the candidate of hope and change. . . who personifies one thing can turn around and be something else — something exactly opposite without it unsettling the American people,” Thompson said.

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Tuesday, 07 August 2012 10:49 AM
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