July 13, 2010

Now, think about this: Harry Reid is saying Barack Obama needs to be tougher. Let that sink in.

It's especially ironic to me because I got kicked off Sen. Reid's blogger conference call list four or five years ago. Why? Well, I used some naughty language, something along the lines of "What the @*#$&! is wrong with you people?" What's so funny is, I was yelling at the senator for ... not standing up to the Republicans. He responded by telling me in a defensive tone that he got calls from constituents who wanted him to be "more bipartisan."

"With all due respect, Senator, we have a name for people like that. We call them Republicans," I said. I told him that the economy was really bad, working people were very worried and were looking to the Democrats for leadership. "All I can say is, God help them if they actually think the Democrats are going to stand up for them," I said. (Yeah, I've always been this way.)

Oh well! Since I don't work in D.C. and I'm not on a Beltway career track, one perk is that I occasionally get to tell politicians what I think. (And hilarity often ensues!)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid critiqued President Obama's "peacemaker" approach to policy-making and suggested he embrace a tougher posture toward Republicans in an exclusive interview with Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston during the congressional recess.

"On a few occasions, I think he should have been more firm with those on the other side of the aisle," Reid explained. "He is a person who doesn't like confrontation. He's a peacemaker. And sometimes I think you have to be a little more forceful. And sometimes I don't think he is enough with the Republicans."

Reid used the long road to health care reform as a case-in-point.

"I think much of that early on scrimmaging was done in the Senate itself," Reid said. "And the White House didn't come in until later. Now, we came up with a great product, and I'm sure he can look back and say I was right, but boy for me down in the trenches, I know it was a time when I wanted a few folks in the White House behind me."

Despite the criticism, Reid also characterized Obama as "a very strong man" and as someone who's "calm," "cool," and "deliberate."

The one-on-one with Reid comes on the heels of the president's two-day trip to Nevada to campaign for the Senate leader, who is currently embroiled in an intense fight for re-election against Republican challenger Sharron Angle. Obama said the race was a top priority for the White House in 2010.

When White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about Reid's remarks on Monday, the Obama administration official declined to comment. "I don't have anything to say," he said.

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