Don't look for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the old Nevada boxing coach, to back down under the GOP's assault. Republicans say he's just plain rude to President Bush when he calls the prez a "liar" and "part of the culture of corruption" like the did Sunday on Face the Nation.
Now, just consider what his spokesman, Jim Manley, told me today: "What the Republicans are trying to do to Senator Reid is what they did to [former Senate Minority Leader] Tom Daschle, and it's not going to work." Recall that the GOP ably attacked Daschle to the point that he lost his seat to Republican John Thune. Today, the Republican National Committee and the Nevada GOP chairwoman issued E-mails to supporters bashing Reid's harsh language when talking about Bush. Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan said that "given the dismal state of Congress under the Democrats' leadership, Sen. Reid's choice of words is unfortunate, but not unexpected. Public confidence in Congress has plummeted to an all-time low of 14 percent. Instead of working to advance the country, Sen. Reid chooses to engage in partisan attacks and reckless rhetoric."
He included an index of other harsh comments Reid has directed at the administration. Also, the state party chairwoman, Sue Lowden, sent an E-mail to state supporters, GOP members, and Republican elected officials nailing Reid.
"Rather than try to raise the level of debate in this country, Harry Reid has once again reverted to the reckless partisan rhetoric that does a disservice to the people of Nevada and the rest of the country."
So will Reid bend? Not likely, says Manley, who issued his own E-mail to me.
"The Republicans announced in this morning's Washington Times that they are eager to change the subject away from Iraq. They will try (and fail) to distract the public by talking about Sen. Reid. The vast majority of Americans support Sen. Reid's efforts to change course in Iraq. Republicans should spend less time and energy protecting the president and more time on protecting our troops and strengthening American security. As for Lowden, she should be more concerned about her party's efforts in-state to make Yucca Mountain a reality, including her own contribution to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign. McCain is a vocal supporter of turning Nevada into the nation's nuclear dumping ground."
By Paul Bedard