Harry Reid Defends Baseless Romney Claims: ‘Romney Didn’t Win, Did He?’

by Andrew Johnson

Harry Reid (D., Nev.) appears to have believed that the ends justified the means when he used the Senate chamber to level unsubstantiated accusations against the Koch brothers and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

In his first television interview since announcing his retirement last week, Reid shrugged off criticism that his infamous claim, without any evidence, that Romney never paid any taxes was “McCarthyite” and a reflection of what is wrong with Washington.

“Well, they can call it whatever they want,” a coy Reid told CNN on Tuesday. “Romney didn’t win, did he?”

He also defended his repeated rants against Charles and David Koch in the most recent election cycle, and cast himself as a symbol of courage for his willingness to take on the billionaire businessmen and philanthropists, even as some of his Democratic colleagues were hesitant to do so.

But Reid acknowledged what President Obama called the minority leader’s “curmudgeonly charm,” saying that “I don’t really care” what people think.

“I recognized a long time ago that there are people who can speak a lot better than I can, there are people better looking than I am, there are people smarter than I am, but there’s nobody who can work harder than I work,” Reid said. “My style may not be someone else’s style, but that’s who I am.”

Part of that work included using earmarks to bring money back to the Silver State. Reid explained that he aimed to be at the top of U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Biggest Porkers” list.” “I was so upset when I wasn’t in the top 2 or 3,” he said. “I’m proud what I did with earmarks.”

Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review Online.