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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today defended President Obama’s record of accomplishments in his first term, citing his preservation of the nation’s auto industry, the elimination of Osama bin Laden as a threat to America and his push to regulate the banking industry as examples of why he deserves a second term in office.
Reid, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, called Obama “a man who has brought courage and character to the presidency.”
“President Obama’s strength of character leads him to do the right thing even when it isn’t the easy thing,” he said.
Reid also attacked the conservative Tea Party element in the Republican Party, saying it must be stopped “before the United States Senate falls into the hands of extremists and ideologues who leave no room for reason or compromise, who don’t recognize common ground even when they’re standing on it.”
In his brief remarks, Reid also criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, saying never in modern American history “has a presidential candidate tried so hard to hide himself from the people he hopes to serve.”
Reid has been leveling criticisms at Romney for the past several weeks for failing to release more of his tax returns for public scrutiny.
But there has been some blow back for his focus on Romney’s tax returns. Reid was criticized for claiming to have information from a source that Romney paid no taxes at all for 10 years, but he did not make that claim in his convention remarks.
“When you look at the one tax return he has released, it’s obvious why there’s been only one,” Reid said. “We learned that he pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families. We learned he chose Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters over American institutions. And we can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people a dozen years of tax returns, like his father did.”
Reid said the American public should not take Romney’s word that he paid his fair share of taxes.
“His word? His word?” Reid asked. “Trust comes from transparency, and Mitt Romney comes up short on both.”
Reid did not mention Nevada’s highest-in-the-nation unemployment rate or its high foreclosure rate in his defense of Obama.
Reid said he is ready to tackle the challenges faced by Americans in the coming four years.
“But I want to do that work with Barack Obama, and not a Tea Party ideologue,” he said.
There was some bad timing as the Democratic Convention kicked into full gear, however, with the news from the U.S. Treasury that the national debt exceeded $16 trillion for the first time in history. The debt has increased approximately $5.4 trillion since President Obama took office on January 20, 2009.
The news prompted a comment from Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., who said: “Today’s ominous milestone is yet another reminder of the dire fiscal straits our country is facing and the need for serious solutions to getting our deficits under control and reducing the debt.
“After running on a promise to cut the deficit in half and reduce our debt in his first term in office, President Obama has added trillions to the debt by pursuing failed stimulus policies and has left the American people and future generations holding the tab,” he said. “Not only has this administration broken these promises to the American people, it has ignored the seriousness of the situation by repeatedly proposing budgets with deficits of more than $1 trillion.”
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