Reid has calculated that the frenzy created by his charge has accomplished exactly what he sought to do: Turn the focus back onto the GOP nominee’s unreleased tax returns, according to several people close to the leader and the campaign. For Reid, he’s got virtually nothing to lose: His approval ratings back home are still upside-down, and he may not even run for reelection when he’s up for a sixth term in 2016.

On top of that, his aides say, Reid genuinely believes his source — an old friend and longtime investor at Romney’s former company Bain Capital — who told the Senate majority leader a couple months back that the GOP nominee didn’t pay taxes for at least a decade…

“What’s the downside? Jon Stewart getting all serious and haughty? Harry Reid could not care less,” said one Reid confidante. “There is no one in politics with a thicker skin. He’s having the last laugh. Reid’s strategy is working. It’s filling news holes and driving conversations.”…

Asked if the Obama campaign agreed with Reid’s comments, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said: “Reflecting the growing number of questions Americans have about Mitt Romney’s finances, Sen. Reid rightfully pointed out that Gov. Romney has something to hide.”