McConnell takes it easy on Reid over "Negro" comment

Republicans' Senate leader won't call for his counterpart to step down

By Alex Koppelman
Published January 12, 2010 5:51PM (EST)

His colleagues were going pretty hard after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for his comments about President Obama's race, but Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took a softer line Tuesday. Asked if he agreed with those Republicans who'd called for Reid to step down or be booted from his position, McConnell said, "I think that's an issue for the Democratic conference."

CNN reports one possible reason for McConnell's giving Reid a pass: "Republican leadership aides, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to speak freely about McConnell's thinking, suggested McConnell knows its very unlikely Reid will step down as leader, and the two have a good working relationship he wants to maintain."

That has at least some ring of truth to it. But McConnell's not the only Republican senator who's shown Reid some mercy lately. Sens. Tom Coburn, John Ensign and John McCain have done so as well.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Harry Reid Mitch Mcconnell R-ky.