Speaking on the opening day of the convention in Charlotte, N.C., the Democratic majority leader from Nevada portrayed the Republican Party as "naysayers" and elitists who favor the wealthy over the middle class, and called Romney the biggest proponent of a "rigged game."
Last month Reid claimed without proof that Romney may not have paid income taxes for 10 years despite his wealth. Romney has denied it, and Reid refused to say who had told him otherwise — and was widely criticized for making the unsubstantiated allegation. But the criticism hasn't stemmed Reid's crusade.
"Mitt Romney says we should take his word, that he paid his fair share," Reid said Tuesday. "Trust comes from transparency and Mitt Romney comes up short on both. "This is about more than just a piece of paper. This isn't personal," he said. "This is about leveling with the American people and creating a level playing field. "If we don't know how Mitt Romney would benefit from the policies he proposes, how can we know if he's looking out for us, or just himself?"
Romney paid about $3 million in federal income taxes in 2010 for an effective federal tax rate of 13.9 percent. For 2011, Romney's campaign estimates that he will pay about $3.2 million for an effective federal tax rate of 15.4 percent. He has refused to release more of his returns.
Reid in his speech praised President Barack Obama for his handling of economy and health care reform.
"President Obama's strength of character leads him to do the right thing, even when it isn't the easy thing," Reid said.
He took aim at the Republican Party in general and the tea party in particular.
"We must stop the tea party 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," he said.