Tags: Harry Reid | Harry Reid | John Boehner | Joe Biden | Mitch McConnell

Harry Reid: McConnell a 'Lump of Coal,' GOP Hopefuls 'All Losers'

By    |   Wednesday, 15 April 2015 11:07 AM

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid isn't holding back many punches on his fellow Washington power players now that he's not seeking re-election — but at the same time, he says he really likes some people who many outside the nation's capital might find surprising, including his frequent nemesis House Speaker John Boehner.

"The fights are unfair," the Nevada Democrat, wearing dark wraparound sunglasses, told CNBC's John Harwood in an informal, candid interview held at a Las Vegas diner and aired Wednesday morning. "We now have 15 people in the country that basically control most of what goes on in politics."

Even the reason for the sunglasses, a workout accident in his own bathroom in January that left him blind in his right eye despite surgery, has led to speculation that Reid ridiculed, including rumors that he was beaten up by "the mob."
"It shows the credibility of Rush Limbaugh," said Reid, who is retiring instead of seeking re-election, but who does not blame the accident for his decision. "Why in the world would I come up with a story that I got hurt in my own bathroom with my wife standing there? How could anyone say anything like that?

"I think a lot of people, as I read, kind of don't like me as a person. I think that's unfortunate."

Sen. Mitch McConnell, who replaced Reid as Senate Majority Leader after the November elections, for example, is one of the people who have clashed with Reid over the years.

However, Reid said he wouldn't criticize the Kentucky Republican for his latest move, when he sent out letters to states telling them not to follow through with President Barack Obama's climate plan.

"He comes from a coal state," said Reid. "I don't mean to be mean-spirited, but he is a lump of coal. He believes that coal is the salvation of the world. I don't believe that."

Harwood noted that McConnell didn't include the word "friend" in his statement about Reid's retirement. Reid joked back, "I guess I should have helped him write the press release."

Reid has also butted heads through the years with Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, but he said that even though McCain gets mad at him "it doesn't last that long."

He said that McCain came to him on the Senate floor recently and said he should beat him up for an action he took, and "I said John, I would do the same thing."

But Reid says he likes another frequent competitor, Boehner, a lot, even though he claims the Ohio Republican cussed him out after Reid said he was acting like a dictator.

"If I'd known it would make him that mad I wouldn't have said it," said Reid. "John Boehner, as a person, I like a lot."

He said Boehner's Congress has serious problems, but there's been plenty of "crises we've made go away" in private.

And Reid had nothing but praise for former President Bill Clinton.

"I talked to him yesterday," he said. "I love the way he ends his conversation and it's so sincere. He says 'Harry, I love you.' He says that every time."

When it comes to the upcoming primaries, Reid says he's not a big fan of such elections, and doesn't think they help, "especially when you're someone as noted as Hillary."

But he is a big fan of Vice President Joe Biden.

"I love Joe Biden," he said. "I could never say a bad word about him. He's a wonderful human being."

Reid said he is not advising Biden not to challenge Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

"That's up to him," he said. "He's been around a long time. He can make that decision on his own without my advice."

And as far as the Republican candidates are concerned and who the nominee will be?

"I don't really care," Reid said. "I think they're all losers."

Watch the video here.

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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid isn't holding back many punches on his fellow Washington power players now that he's not seeking re-election.
Harry Reid, John Boehner, Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 11:07 AM
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