Bob Schieffer Compares Harry Reid to Joe McCarthy

August 5th, 2012 3:14 PM

It's becoming fairly clear that even some of the Obama-loving media think Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) went too far last week with unsubstantiated and unattributed allegations concerning presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's taxes.

On CBS's Face the Nation Sunday, host Bob Schieffer asked, "Isn't this kind of like Joe McCarthy back in the era when he said, 'I have here in my hand the names of 400 people in the state department who are communist?'" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST: Let me go to you, Governor Strickland. You have been pounding Mitt Romney for not releasing his tax returns, and you have repeated what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been saying that Mitt Romney may have paid no taxes in all of, in some of those years. You know, this morning Reince Priebus who’s the chairman of the Republican Party, said I think over on Fox, that, that Harry Reid is a dirty liar. And I have to say, he has shown nothing, no evidence to substantiate that charge. He just says he heard it from somebody. Do you have any proof that Mitt Romney paid no taxes in some years?

TED STRICKLAND, FORMER DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR OF OHIO: No, but Mr. Romney could give us the proof that he has paid taxes consistently. The fact is, Bob, Mitt Romney wants the American people to trust him with the presidency, but he won't trust us with his tax returns. All he has to do is release his tax returns. The question that I think is this: why is Mitt Romney refusing to give us his tax returns?

SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, I take your point, Governor, but isn't this kind of like Joe McCarthy back in the era when he said, "I have here in my hand the names of 400 people in the state department who are communist?" It turned out he didn't and he was saying the way to prove that they're not is for them to come forward here. I mean, asking somebody to come forward to, to just because there's been an unsubstantiated charge, that's a little thin to me.

STRICKLAND: That's not the reason, Bob. He should come forth with his tax returns not because there's been a charge, but because the American people deserve to know what is in his tax returns. His father, as we all know…

SCHIEFFER: So you're saying maybe that's not true that he hasn't paid any taxes but you have said maybe he didn't.

In recent days, we've seen numerous conservative pundits make this comparison. For the Face the Nation host to do so means Reid has really crossed an important line.

The next step would be for prominent members of the media to call for Reid to either provide evidence of his accusations or retract them.

Stay tuned.