Harry Reid on liars, hacks and partisans
People often talk about how this or that politician doesn't like to stick to the script. But usually, that means this or that politician talks a lot in an ostentatiously folksy manner. That's not true for Harry Reid, who both doesn't talk very much and says routinely interesting things.
“I’m just who I am, O.K.?” Reid told me before Christmas. “I didn’t take lessons on how to speak on television, and I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about who I am. I don’t like to read stuff about me, but I’ve become accustomed to it: you know, ‘Reid misspeaks.’ I’d rather people were saying, Oh, that guy is a golden-tongued devil.” He paused. “I have no regret over calling Greenspan a political hack. Because he was. The things you heard me say about George Bush? You never heard me apologize about any of them. Because he was. What was I supposed to say? I called him a liar twice. Because he lied to me twice.”
And this is some serious real talk about the Senate:
[Reid] said he had been shocked by the behavior of Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, since returning from his failed bid for the presidency. “My disappointment — no, that’s the wrong word; I’ll try to find a better word. My amazement has been John McCain. I thought he’d turn out to be a statesman, work for things. He’s against everything. He’s against everything! He didn’t used to be against everything.”
He said he thought the White House erred in trying to win the support of Olympia Snowe, the Republican senator from Maine, for a health care compromise. “As I look back it was a waste of time dealing with her,” he said, “because she had no intention of ever working anything out.” And while making clear that he was not complaining, he said Obama may have been asking for too much in his first year. “I personally wish that Obama had a smaller agenda,” he said. “It would be less work.”
Photo credit: Ethan Miller/Getty.
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