Sen. Harry Reid, who led Democrats to a Senate majority and then back into the minority, triggered the nuclear option to change Senate rules and used a special budget tactic to get Obamacare passed, told a Nevada newspaper not to blame him for partisanship in Washington.
In an extensive interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal he also called Patricia Smith, the mother of a State Department employee slain in the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, “crazy” for her speech at the GOP convention questioning Hillary Clinton’s behavior. Mr. Reid then tried to tack back that characterization and instead accused Mrs. Smith of lack of accuracy.”
And Mr. Reid defended his demonstrably false attack on 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who he said didn’t pay income taxes, as true according to his own version of things.
“I tell the truth,” he told the Reno newspaper, before correcting himself: “It may not be the truth, it’s how I feel.”
“I knew that he had a problem with his tax returns, okay? I went to the White House, he was running for re-election, do something about the DNC. I didn’t want to do that. No one else would do it, so I did it. I’m glad I did it.”
Mr. Romney did in fact release tax returns for 2010 and 2010, and released summaries for previous years, showing he did pay taxes — though at an investment-income rate lower than most Americans who pay taxes on wages or salary.
Mr. Reid has been a dominant figure in Washington, helping shepherd much of President Obama’s agenda through in 2009 and 2010, using an arcane budget procedure to ensure the passage of Obamacare.
He also detonated the “nuclear option,” taking a shortcut to change the rules on filibusters to force through Mr. Obama’s judicial and executive branch nominees. That move has paid off in a number of instances, helping install left-leaning bureaucrats in agencies, and judges who have rewarded Mr. Obama with favorable rulings from the bench.
Mr. Reid said the partisanship in Washington that voters complain about is actually a product of Republicans refusing to work with Mr. Obama — including the filibusters of his nominees. Mr. Reid said his own hardball tactics have been about advancing the president’s agenda.
“No, I’m not responsible for any partisanship,” Mr. Reid said. “I’ve tried my best to get things done. But it’s hard when you spend all your time trying to work on filibusters.”
He blamed the wealthy conservative-leaning Koch brothers for distorting politics, and said Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s emails aren’t a substantive political issue.
And he attacked Mrs. Smith, one of the many speakers at the GOP’s convention last month who questioned Mrs. Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi attack and said Mrs. Clinton told her the attack was a response to an anti-Islam video — even as Mrs. Clinton was telling her own daughter it was a terrorist strike.
“I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son,” Mrs. Smith said in an emotional and controversial speech. “How could she do this to me? How could she do this to any American family?”
Mr. Reid said her speech was part of a smear campaign against Mrs. Clinton.
“They had that poor Smith woman come out and say ‘Hillary Clinton killed my son.’ How crazy,” Mr. Reid said, before again attempting to correct himself: “Maybe that’s the wrong word. How lack of accuracy.”