Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said this week that Mitt Romney refuses to release additional tax returns because he didn't pay taxes for 10 years.
He suggested that Romney's decision to withhold tax information would bar him from ever earning Senate confirmation to a Cabinet post. Then, he described a phone call his office received about a month ago from "a person who had invested with Bain Capital," the Huffington Post said. Reid said the person told him: "Harry, he didn't pay any taxes for 10 years."
"Now, do I know that that's true? Well, I'm not certain," Reid said. "But obviously he can't release those tax returns. How would it look?"
Romney's campaign has denied rumors that he hasn't paid taxes in a single year, and he said he couldn't recall if there were years when he paid less than the 13.9 percent tax rate that he paid in 2010.
Back on U.S. soil, Mitt Romney defended remarks he made in Israel that infuriated Palestinians. In an essay in the National Review Online on Tuesday, he wrote: "During my recent trip to Israel, I had suggested that the choices a society makes about its culture play a role in creating prosperity, and that the significant disparity between Israeli and Palestinian living standards was powerfully influenced by it. In some quarters, that comment became the subject of controversy. But what exactly accounts for prosperity if not culture?"
He did not elaborate on which aspects of Palestinian culture he blames for the chasm between the per capita income of the two peoples, but he did, once again, raise the ire of Palestinians who believe that Israel's economic success and the West Bank's struggles are not caused by cultural differences, but by Israel's military occupation of the territory.
Mitt Romney started this campaign with an image as a wealthy elitist, out of touch with middle-class life. New poll results on Wednesday show that he hasn't overcome that impression.
A poll by CBS News, the New York Times, and Quinnipiac University found that 54 percent of likely voters in Pennsylvania, 55 percent in Ohio, and 49 percent in Florida said Romney did not care about their problems. A smaller contingent said Romney did understand them: 39 percent in Pennsylvania, 38 in Ohio, and 42 percent in Florida.
President Obama fared better: In all three states, at least 55 percent said he understood their needs and problems.
Many voters seem to have absorbed Romney's message that he knows the business world better than Obama:
The polls must be taken with this caveat: In all three states, more Democrats than Republicans were surveyed.
President Obama congratulated the five members of the U.S. women's gymnastics team Wednesday on their Olympic victory -- and he had some questions about just how they managed to pull off their gold medal performances.
"I told these young ladies as I was congratulating them, how do you not bust your head every time you're on that little balance beam?" Obama said. "I couldn't walk across that balance beam."
He also has been watching some Olympic swimming. While traveling in Ohio on Wednesday, he called U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps to congratulate him on becoming the most decorated Olympic athlete. Phelps picked up his 19th Olympic medal -- a gold -- in a men's relay Tuesday. The White House said the president told Phelps he was "the greatest Olympian ever" and that the country "couldn't be prouder."