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WH Distances Itself From Reid; Carney Says He "Speaks For Himself"

"The charge is not that Mitt Romney paid less than a factory worker, or whatever, but it's a bit more vicious than that from Harry Reid. He said he has an anonymous source telling him that [Romney] paid no taxes for something like 10 years. So the president has talked a lot about change in the tone of this town. Why hasn't he picked up the phone to ask Harry Reid to stop making a charge like that?" FOX News White House correspondent Ed Henry asked WH press secretary Jay Carney at today's briefing.

"I think the idea that people tell Harry Reid what to do is inconsistent with what everyone here understands to be [the case]," Carney responded.

Carney then referred to several campaign attacks on Romney such as paying a lower effective tax rate and outsourcing jobs.

"That's not the charge," Henry corrected Carney. "The charge is that he didn't pay taxes for ten years. Does the White House believe that allegation?"

"Yeah, I would refer you to Senator Reid. I can't -- only Senator Reid knows his source, which he has discussed. And I would refer you to that," Carney responded.

"Nancy Pelosi today said, 'Harry Reid made a statement that is true. Somebody told him it is a fact.' Do you agree with that rationale?" Henry pressed Carney.

"I haven't seen that statement," Carney claimed. "Again, I would refer you to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid."

"Harry Reid says he hasn't paid taxes in 10 years and that's just a fact?" Henry asked.

"I think the President is focused on -- and you hear him say this every day -- issues that matter to the American people," Carney said, suggesting that Reid's accusation is not an issue that matters.

At this point, ABC's Jon Karl jumps in to try to pry something out of Carney.

"One more on Harry Reid. It's a simple question. Does the president think that this allegation coming from Harry Reid, without any evidence, made on the Senate floor, is that below the belt? Does that cross the line?" Karl asked.

Carney responded by saying that President Obama believes in full disclosure of tax documents when you are running for the presidency.

"The issue here is one of transparency and, again, as the president sees it, in regards to his candidacy, one, it is an important tradition. It allows the American people to get a sense of the candidate's background," Carney said to the press.

"You can talk to Senator Reid. I'm sure he'll address this issue if you ask him. He certainly speaks for himself. The president is focused on the issues that matter most to the American people," Carney said.

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