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Reid Hopes to Work With "Old" GOP if Re-elected

Reid Hopes to Work With "Old" GOP if Re-elected

By Erin McPike - October 21, 2010


LAS VEGAS -If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is re-elected this November in Nevada and retains his leadership perch next year, the embattled Democrat hopes to work more closely with Republicans.

Realizing that there will be more Republicans in the Senate, Reid also said he hopes to have more help from the GOP when the next legislative term begins.

"I think we will," he said in a brief interview with RealClearPolitics. "They will have seen that the tea party charge hasn't helped them much."

He added, "I would hope when we go back that we'll be able to recognize that we need the old Republican Party back so that we work together and get things done. This obstructionism doesn't do the trick."

In response, NRSC Communications Director Brian Walsh said, “To hear the author of the Cornhusker Kickback and Louisiana Purchase preach about bipartisanship 12 days before Election Day just reminds every Nevada voter that this is a career politician who will do or say anything to retain his power in Washington. After almost 30 years of double-talk though, Harry Reid is about to learn that the jig is up as voters prepare to send him into retirement.”

Reid has stayed roughly even in public polling in what has been a difficult campaign for his fifth term against Republican former state legislator Sharron Angle. Angle's tea party support helped her raise an eye-popping $14 million in the third fundraising quarter for the final stretch of her race against Reid.

But Reid pointed out multiple times that he has the support of Republicans who hold elective office in the Silver State, and he suggested that Angle's positions are not in line with the traditional GOP.

"The Republican Party that's running out here against me and in other places around the country is not your father's Republican Party," he said. "That's why basically all Republicans in the state of Nevada who hold public office or have held public office support me."

He added later, "Why in the world would Harry Reid have the support of virtually every elected Republican official in the past x number of years? It's because they are afraid of her. They know who I am. They have worked with me. They know that I am a reasonable person and try to be someone who doesn't focus on either extreme, try to work through the middle."

Reid ticked off a list of changes tea party-backed Republicans want to push - like ending Social Security and Medicare, abolishing federal agencies like the Departments of Education and Energy - and called them "little, unusual, extreme things."

"So when we come back I'm hopeful and confident that this little experiment will get the Republican Party back where it used to be," he said.

And when Congress does return, Reid said he'll look to pursue smaller pieces of legislation rather than comprehensive reforms, which the Democratic Congress has preferred in the last two years.

"I think what we're going to do is I think we're going to have to do legislation in pieces rather than trying to do broad things," Reid said. "That's usually what happens in a second [congressional] term of a president. So I think we're going to have work on pieces of energy, pieces of other things that we need to work on rather than trying to do big things."

Asked if energy will be his top goal in the next session of Congress should he still be in control of the Senate, Reid said, "We'll have to see."

"First of all we have a lot to do in the lame duck," he said. "I've referred to that as the goose on steroids because we've put so much over to the lame duck that it's much more than a lame duck. It's a great big goose or something like that."

Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at emcpike@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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