Reid on Bush: He's still a liar

In an interview with Rolling Stone, the Senate minority leader talks tough about the president and Bill Frist -- and about John Kerry, too.

By Tim Grieve
Published June 2, 2005 4:49PM (EDT)

We've had our doubts about Harry Reid, but he's turned out to be more of a fighter than many of us would have expected. His Democrats are outnumbered in the U.S. Senate, but when Reid stood eyeball to eyeball with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist last month in the fight over the filibuster, it was Frist who walked away, as Newsweek puts it, looking both "craven and ineffective at the same time."

As for Reid? The small, soft-spoken Senate minority leader is developing a little swagger. On the Senate floor the night the filibuster deal came together, Reid made a show of pulling from his pocket a card on which he'd written the names of Republican moderates he'd hoped to peel away from Frist's nuclear option plan; his mission accomplished, he tore the card in half and threw it away. Sure, Reid apologized -- to Karl Rove, of all people -- after calling George W. Bush a "loser" the other day. But in a new interview with Rolling Stone, Reid makes it clear that he's not backing down from talking tough. He says that Frist is "being driven by these right wing zealots" and has a lot to learn about the kinds of compromises that are required of legislators. And he says that Democrats don't control the White House today because "Senator Kerry ignored rural America."

But Reid saves his toughest talk for the president. When Rolling Stone's Eric Bates reminds Reid that he called Bush a "loser," Reid says that he also called Bush a "liar" -- and that he hasn't apologized for it, either.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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