Friday, April 29, 2005

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid raised a few eyebrows yesterday on the Senate floor when he said it would take a “miracle” for Democrats to win enough races next year to take back the Senate.

“I would like to think a miracle would happen and we would pick up five seats this time,” he said during a floor debate over the filibusters of President Bush’s judicial nominees. “I guess miracles never cease.”

Republicans were delighted by what they called an “admission” from the highest-ranking elected Democrat in the country.

“After listening to Senator Reid’s political spin about judicial nominees for the last several weeks, it is good to hear him come back to reality — if even for a brief moment,” said Brian Nick, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “Senator Reid can do the math: A Democratic Party, plus no ideas, plus obstruction, plus over-the-top partisan rhetoric equals continued minority.”

Partisans on both sides of the aisle privately acknowledged that it was a fairly stunning remark.

But Democrats pointed out that Mr. Reid was making a larger point about the so-called “nuclear option” that Republicans have threatened to use to unclog the filibusters — that Republicans might one day regret abolishing the filibuster for judicial nominees.

“If the Republicans keep abusing their power, it won’t take such a miracle,” said Phil Singer, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Jim Manley, spokesman for Mr. Reid, noted that his boss “also said he believes in miracles.”

“As a small-town boy from Searchlight, Nevada, who rose to become Democratic leader of the U.S. Senate, Senator Reid has shown that we can overcome the odds and is certain that we can win back the Senate,” Mr. Manley said.

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