Report: The voice in Harry Reid's head who told him about Romney's tax evasion is a Republican

That’s what the story was a few hours ago. And then, per HuffPo, the story changed.

Note to self: If you’re going to smear a presidential nominee for political advantage, at least get the details straight before talking to the press.

A top aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) provided new details Wednesday on the identity of Reid’s source for the claim that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years. Romney has since called on Reid to release the name of the source.

“This person is an investor in Bain Capital, a Republican also, and somebody who has been dealing with Romney’s company for a long, long time and he has direct knowledge of this,” said Reid aide Jose Parra, referring to Romney’s tax returns…

UPDATE: 7:08 p.m. — Parra now says he doesn’t know whether Reid’s source is Republican. In an email to HuffPost, he wrote:

“I do not know the party affiliation of the source, how long he invested with Bain, or his relationship to Romney beyond the fact that he was an investor with Bain Capital, as Senator Reid has previously stated.”

As our Townhall cousin Kevin Glass says, focusing on the source is really just a bit of misdirection aimed at shifting the debate from “Reid lied!” to “Who’s the mystery man?!” If, in fact, the mystery man exists in temporal reality rather than merely in some fugue state Reid enters whenever he gets really excited about scoring a political point, let him come forward and offer his evidence. Seems awfully strange that he’d sit tight on such explosive information when every reporter in America would happily grant him anonymity in exchange for hard proof that his claims are true.

As it is, Fred Thompson thinks it’s time for Romney to tie one of the Democrats’ big smears to the other:

Based on what I thought was appropriate at the time, I have released my share of tax returns when running for office, and while I might have advised him differently a year ago, now I say go all in. I would not give one inch to an outfit that accuses me of killing a worker’s wife. Tell them to go fly a kite. Tell them that when Obama releases his grades and Harry Reid releases his tax returns you might consider it. Have some fun. Talk about the fragile future of this country and its role in the world, and let Harry and the boys talk about anonymous sources and tax returns…

Besides, the Romney campaign has been the recipient of a major stroke of luck in the form of Harry Reid. He is a classic example of the Peter Principle. I came of political age during the time of Senators Howard Baker, Robert Byrd, and George Mitchell. I served under the leadership of Bob Dole and Tom Daschle. When Reid was elevated to the position of Senate majority leader, he achieved the level of his own incompetence. He has no concept of the responsibility that the position carries. He uses the Senate floor to slander opponents and degrade the Senate. Those who wonder why the Senate has become so acrimonious and partisan need look no further. The Senate Democrats have presented us with a poster boy for the problem. And he is now the face of the Romney “tax return” issue.

Speaking of accusations about killing a steelworker’s wife, go look at the slideshow slide that BuzzFeed found in the Obama campaign’s archives. Not the Super PAC, mind you, but the campaign itself. They pushed this smear first. The Super PAC merely amplified it.