Its easy to be a gracious winner. Its hard to be a gracious loser. But Mitch is trying to do that, Reid said.
Though he gave high marks to McConnell for offering to cooperate on legislation, Reid was not as generous when it came to Republican threats to block the Senate from seating Minnesota Democrat Al Franken, who was certified the winner of his race against Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) by the state canvassing board this week. Frankens legal certification requires the signature of Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), which he has yet to secure pending the outcome of Colemans legal challenge of the election results.
Reid said he would not seek to seat Franken in the near future, but that eventually his patience for the legal wrangling over the seat would run out.
As I told Republicans on the floor today, were going to be very patient, but theres going to come a time when we do something about it, Reid said. If theyre just stalling so we dont have our 59th vote, I think the people in Minnesota are going to see through that pretty quickly.
Reid added that he would not hesitate if the circumstances call for it to send both the Franken matter and the questionable appointment of Democrat Roland Burris to Obamas vacant seat to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. Reid is scheduled to meet with Burris today, but he declined to reveal what he planned to tell the former state attorney general. Reid has not ruled out seating Burris eventually but said no such action would be taken this week.
Understand that I dont need anyones permission to refer Franken and Burris to the Rules Committee, Reid stated. I can do that. I can just walk out and file a resolution, and it goes there automatically. But were going to be fair and deliberate in what were doing.
Electorally, Reid has become the top target of Republicans in the 2010 cycle, and he practically dared the GOP on Tuesday to come after him. If Republicans are so convinced they can beat him, Reid said, they should devote a lot of resources to Nevada. That will allow us to have a lot of other resources that they wont have to that we can use other places.
Republicans in Washington, D.C., and Nevada have made no secret of their intention to go after the Majority Leader over the next two years.
I have won races and I have lost races, Reid said. Anyone can be beaten at any time. I can be beaten; I understand that. But its nothing Im going to go to bed quivering about every night.
He added, Ive had a pretty good career, and Im going to continue doing the best I can for Nevada and the country.