Book: White House/OFA rebuffed Reid on Romney tax "information," so he did it himself

I am almost done reading New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich's "This Town," his lacerating look at the incestuousness Political/Media Complex that is Washington, DC.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has quite the role in the book -- I will write more about that this week -- and generally comes off as I know he is: No self-editing mechanism, an anti-politician in public and a consummate one in private.

But I had to share this right away, a piece that comes near the end of the book:

Remember when Reid was making all that noise last cycle about Mitt Romney's tax returns, claiming the GOP nominee hadn't paid taxes in 10 years? Leibovich describes Reid as "hitting a new 'I REALLY don't give a damn what I say' threshold" in leveling the attack on his fellow Mormon (I would argue Reid has no boundary in that area and will prove me right at any moment.)

Leibovich recounts what Reid did, then relates that he asked him if he "had something personal" against Romney.

Reid: "He and I come from different worlds. So at the very beginning, there was kind of a friction there, no matter how hard I try. I have a hard time thinking someone like that understands what I've been through in my life," surely referring to his hardscrabble childhood.

As hard as I try! Classic Prince Harry.

Leibovich reports that Reid "said he kept giving his 'information' about Romney's not paying taxes to people in the White House and campaign, but no one ever did anything with it. 'So I said the heck with it, I'll do it,' Reid said. 'If I hadn't done it, it probably never would have been done.'"

And when the author asks Reid if the White House "ever asked him to tone it down a little, he just smiled."

That is: Yes.

My reporting at the time indicated that Reid actually believed Romney had not paid taxes -- or had been told so by someone he deemed very reliable. But my guess is the White House thought the same thing that I and many others did at the time: It's pretty outrageous to make such a charge with no proof.

But Reid just didn't/doesn't care.