|U.S. Senator from Nevada|
From: January 3, 1987 - Present
|Successor||Incumbent (no successor)|
|U.S. Representative from Nevada's 1st District|
From: January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1987
|Predecessor||James David Santini|
|Religion||The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|
Harry Reid, born December 2, 1939 (age 76), is the senior Senator from Nevada and U.S. Senate Majority Leader in the 111th Congress for the Democrats. He became Minority Whip (the #2 job) in 1998, and Minority Leader in 2005 and Majority Leader in 2007. He won reelection from Nevada in 2010 despite low approval ratings and a strong challenge amid suspicions of voting irregularities. He is the first member of the Church of Latter-day Saints to become Senate Majority Leader. He is known for making insensitive and provocative racially charged comments and his far left liberal views. He is considered an idiot and a "mumbling gangster", so he was an natural choice to lead the Democrats in the Senate.
- 1 Early Life and Education
- 2 Political career
- 3 Political Views
- 4 Controversies
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Early Life and Education
Reid's career in politics began in 1967 when he was elected to the Nevada State Assembly and in 1970 was elected Lieutenant Governor. He unsuccessfully ran for the United States Senate in 1974. From 1977 to 1981, Harry Reid was the Nevada state gaming commissioner. This led his character to be parodied in the 1995 film "Casino" played by Dick Smothers. During Reid's tenure as gaming commissioner, he allowed the FBI to videotape businessman Jack Gordon, offering him a $12,000 bribe. Then, according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal account, Reid "put his hands around Gordon's neck and said, 'You son of a b-tch, you tried to bribe me!'"  In 1979 Gordon was arrested and sentenced to six months in jail.
After serving two terms in the House of Representatives, Reid was elected to the Senate in 1986 and reelected three times. He served as Minority Whip from 1999 through 2001, again from 2003 through 2005, Minority Leader from 2005 through 2007, and was elected Senate Majority Leader in 2007.
Reid is facing a tough reelection in 2010. The "Cook Political Report" in September 2009 rates the contest as "Toss Up". His status weakened in summer 2009, as discontent with President Obama and the Democrats' health plan mounted, and as the Recession of 2008 continues to batter Las Vegas and the entire Nevada economy, with no relief in sight from the stimulus bill Reid pushed through the Senate. Reid's inability to improve his standing in the polls, coupled with the deteriorating political environment for Democrats nationally, are clear indications that his political problems are deep and will be difficult (though not impossible) to fix, says Cook.
After receiving the endorsement of the Tea Party Express and Club for Growth, former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle defeated former State Senator Sue Lowden by 14 points and businessman Danny Tarkanian in the Republican primary by 17 points.
Reid eventually defeated Angle by a 50.3% to 44.6% margin.
Political ViewsCongress. He has been a key spokesman for liberal positions on taxes, health care, government bailouts, unions and immigration. In 2009 Reid called opponents of universal health care "evil-mongers." He later explained "I maybe could have been less descriptive, I doubt you’ll hear it from me again."  Reid voted to authorize military force in Iraq in 1991 and again in 2002. However, he later became a proponent of troop withdrawal.
His major accomplishment has been to block the use of Yucca Mountain in Nevada for the safe storage of nuclear wastes from around the country.
At one point Reid described himself as pro-life, saying "Abortions should be legal only when the pregnancy resulted from incest, rape, or when the life of the woman is endangered."  Reid voted to express opposition to Roe v. Wade  and supported the ban on Partial birth abortion. However, since being elected to his leadership position he has proven himself to be a staunch pro-Abortion advocate and has even voted to use taxpayer dollars to fund overseas abortions. From 2007-2008, the National Right to Life Committee gave Harry Reid a 28% rating.
Reid cosponsored a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. He opposes environmentalists on mining issues. He is a strong supporter of the gaming industry, which forms the basis of the state's economy.
Reid supports gun control, and in 2007 Gun Owners of America gave Reid a grade of F.
As a United States Senator Harry Reid has been the subject of Controversy and Criticism. In 2006 he was ranked the 10th most corrupt person in Washington by Judicial Watch. Reid was investigated by the FBI in 2008 for illegal campaign donations.
Reid ludicrously claimed in 2012 that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hadn't paid taxes in 10 years - without, of course, offering any substantiation.  The IRS may have illegally leaked Romney's tax information to Reid.
Connections with Jack Abramoff
Reid has received over $60,000 from groups that are related to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, including about $50,000 from Native American gaming interests. Several times, Native American tribes that were clients of Jack Abramoff donated money to Reid after Reid's votes produced favorable results for the tribes. However, Reid described the Abramoff affair as "a Republican scandal."
Reid has accepted free tickets valued at hundreds of dollars for boxing matches between 2003 and 2005 from the Nevada Athletic Commission. Senate ethics rules permit gifts from such governmental agencies.
Las Vegas land deal
Senator Reid came under fire in 2006 for failing to properly report to Congress a $700,000 land deal. Harry Reid's member interest in limited liability company (LLC) was allocated $1.1 million of the gross proceeds attributable to the sale of a parcel of land. In 1998, Reid bought a plot of land for $400,000, fair market value at the time. One of the sellers was a developer who arranged a land swap that Reid supported.
On April 19, 2007, representatives of 50 Iraqi Sunni tribes announced the formation of a new democratic political party called Iraq Awakening, with the aim of fielding candidates in elections at all levels of government, including the parliamentary elections in 2009. In the predominantly Shiite country, a large scale political organization among the Sunni is precisely what al-Qaeda insurgents have opposed. Later the same day, Sen. Reid demanded the pullout of American forces, on the basis that Iraq had been "lost". In May, Majority Leader Reid voted to fund the "lost" cause anyway. In a scathing rebuke MSNBC's liberal Keith Olbermann said,
|“||Mr. Reid, Mr. Hoyer, and the other Democrats... have failed us. They negotiated away that which they did not own, but had only been entrusted by us to protect: our collective will as the citizens of this country....Mr. Reid has failed. ||”|
Ironically after Reid proclaimed the war lost, sectarian violence significantly declined.
Rush Limbaugh Phony Soldier Incident
On October 2, 2007, Senator Reid wrote a letter to Mark P. Mays, Chairman-of-the-board and CEO of Clear Channel Communications, who are Rush Limbaugh's chief patrons. In it Senator Reid essentially demanded that Mr. Mays order Mr. Limbaugh apologize for certain remarks that Mr. Limbaugh allegedly made, to the effect that soldiers who opposed the prosecution of the war in Iraq were "phony soldiers." In composing his letter and his later remarks, Reid relied heavily on a presentation and alleged analysis by Media Matters for America. In fact, the only soldiers that Mr. Limbaugh ever alleged to be "phony" were certain persons who falsely claimed to have served in Iraq; some of those persons were in fact tried for and convicted of misrepresentation of service and drew prison sentences for their conduct. Nevertheless Mr. Reid obtained the signatures of forty of his Senate colleagues on his accusatory letter and read the letter aloud on the floor of the Senate.
The letter was delivered, and Mr. Limbaugh ultimately obtained it. Mr. Limbaugh publicly exhibited it to an audience in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 11. The next day he placed the letter for sale at public auction at eBay.com. The letter was sold for $2.1 million. Rush donated the entire proceeds to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, and included a matching contribution of his own. In his remarks on the air on the day that the auction ended, and for several days before that, Mr. Limbaugh speculated that Senator Reid probably never imagined that his letter would even be made public, much less set a record for the most expensive charity auction in the records of eBay.com.
At noon EDT October 19, 2007, Senator Reid spoke again to this issue on the floor of the Senate, taking note of the astonishing auction price that the letter was sure to fetch (the auction was still running at the time). He suggested in his remarks that he had spoken to Mr. Mays personally about the prospect of the public auction and had expressed doubts that such an auction would fetch more than a trifling sum. Rush Limbaugh played the recording of Mr. Reid's remarks on his radio program and scathingly suggested that Mr. Reid was now attempting to take credit after the fact for the success of the auction and the massive charitable donation that would result from it.
Images of the text of the letter, and the signatures of the Senators, appear below:
Remarks about slavery and race
A month after Reid compared Republican opponents of government health care to supporters of slavery, it came to light that Reid had made remarks referring to Barack Obama's race during the presidential campaign. Reid had called then-Senator Obama during the 2008 Democratic primaries "light skinned" and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."
- The authors describe Reid assessing Obama's strengths as a candidate. Reid, they write, "believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama -- a 'light-skinned' African American 'with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,' as he said privately. Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama's race would help him more than hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination."
After that, political commentators began "arguing over whether those comments by Reid constitute racism". On January 9, 2010 Reid apologized for his "poor choice of words"
- In a follow-up remark, again more obsession with Race baiting, “because the wave of immigrants we have now — their skin's a tone darker than ours — doesn't make it any different.” 
- Reid The Reaper: Dems plan Iraq Awakening's wake, by Daniel Clark, New Media Alliance. Retrieved 06/04/07.
- The entire government has failed us on Iraq, Keith Olbermann, MSNBC Countdown, May 24, 2007.
- Reid, Harry, et al. "Letter to Mark P. Mays of Clear Channel Communications." Electronic Office of US Senator Harry Reid, October 2, 2007. Retrieved October 19, 2007.
- Auction listing of original of Harry Reid letter. eBay.com. Retrieved October 19, 2007.
- Limbaugh, Rush H., remarks heard on his radio program on October 19, 2007, at about 12:15 p.m. EDT, or 16:15 p.m. UTC
- Reid, Harry M. "Remarks on the Floor of the United States Senate regarding Letter to Mark P. Mays." Captured and published by Breitbart TV. Retrieved October 19, 2007.
- Reid, Harry; remarks on the floor of the United States Senate on October 19, 2007, at 12:00 noon EDT. Played and commented upon by Rush H. Limbaugh on his radio program, beginning 12:35 p.m. EDT.
- Reid's comments were included in the book Game Change
- Washington Post - January 10, 2010
- Bigots and the Press - Mark Hyman
- What’s wrong with ‘Negro,’ anyway?
- Rubio Blasts Reid for Saying He Doesn't Understand How Hispanics Could Be Republican, FOXNews, August 11, 2010
- Abramoff Reports to Prison; Officials Focus on Reid, Others, Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz, ABC News, November 15, 2006.
- House switchboard getting pranked by Harry Reid?. Politico. August 11, 2009.
- Dr. Manny: Dear Senator Reid, I’m Not Stupid!