On Friday’s broadcast of CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report,” former Democratic National Commission Chairman Howard Dean told fill-in host Joe Kernen that after Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney released his 2011 tax returns, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s credibility might be “in some trouble.”
Earlier this summer, Reid made the bold allegation that Romney hadn’t paid taxes for 10 years. However, according to the data released on Friday afternoon by the Romney campaign, that’s not the case. (RELATED: Romney paid extra taxes in 2011, Democrats complain)
A letter from Romney’s tax preparer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, reported that Romney paid an average annual effective federal tax rate of 20.2 percent from 1990-2009, and his annual rate never dropped below 13.7 percent, which contradicts Reid’s claim.
That contradiction is one that Dean, now a CNBC contributor, couldn’t defend, although he did protest that Romney went back on his claim of not paying more taxes than he had to.
Transcript as follows:
KERNEN: Governor, my first question is you’ve seen these now — my very first question, I’m going to ask this a lot tonight. You’ve got a guy in society who paid $2 million in taxes, gave $4 million to charity. Should we, A) wish we had more guys like this in society or B) wish we didn’t have any guys like this in society? Is he a net positive if you pay $2 million in taxes? His overall rate on what he either gave to charity or taxes is about 40 percent. Governor, good or bad?
DEAN: That’s not the issue. The issue is how truthful is he and the problem is he did go back and manipulate the tax rate list in the past year. And NBC ran a clip on the evening news tonight of him saying — I don’t know, last July or something…
KERNEN: Is that right? I know where you’re going.
DEAN: …’if I paid more taxes than I should have I’m not qualified to be president.’ Well, he did.
KERNEN: So he paid more, so you guys are going to now nail him on paying more taxes than he had to when he just stays within the law and pays what he’s supposed to pay by law? You don’t like that and you accuse him of evasion and paying no taxes; now that he paid less than he had to, now you’ll get him on that? That’s a gotcha moment, Howard?
DEAN: The issue is his credibility. He should have showed the tax returns.
KERNEN: How’s Harry Reid’s credibility at this point?
DEAN: I’d say it’s in some trouble, but I’d say Mitt’s not out of the woods yet.