It makes sense that Reid wouldn’t want to be questioned on the particulars of his outlandish accusation that Romney is the tax deadbeat of the decade. But those close to the senator tell me that he’s delighted with the conflagration he sparked last week, and that he is determined to keep it going. This soft-spoken Mormon from rural Nevada is quite deliberately turning himself into the mad dog of the 2012 campaign…

This time, Reid loyalists say he decided to go after Romney without consulting the Obama campaign — although the indications I get from Chicago are that the campaign is pleased with Reid’s attack. Reid is known to regard President Obama as too soft.

“This is a calculated move by an ex-boxer going after what he thinks is a serious weakness in his opponent’s defenses,” said Jim Manley, who was Reid’s longtime communications adviser.