Don’t let his soft-spoken appearance fool you: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has told his colleagues to “sit down and shut up,” likened Republicans to “greased pigs,” derided a reporter’s questions as “irresponsible and reckless” and dismissed another’s as a “clown question, bro.” These are some of soundbites the 75-year-old Reid has created while leading Democrats in the Senate over the last decade. There won’t be many more coming: After nearly 30 years in the upper chamber, Reid announced Friday that he would not seek re-election in 2016.
Reid said neither his recent injuries -- he broke his ribs and bones in his face during an exercising accident on New Year’s Day -- nor the Democrats’ stinging defeat in the 2014 midterm elections that relegated him to minority leader determined his decision. But he said the two months he spent recuperating allowed him to reflect on his future.
“I have had time to ponder and to think, ‘We’ve got to be more concerned about country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than us, and as a result of that, I’m not going to run for re-election,” he said in a video announcing his decision released Friday morning. But Reid warned that the Republicans shouldn’t consider him a lame duck. “My friend, [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell, don’t be too elated,” he continued. “I am going to be here for 22 months and you know what I’m going to be doing? The same thing I’ve done since I first came to the Senate.”
A former amateur boxer, Reid has verbally sparred with both reporters and colleagues on the Senate floor. Here are a few moments when the soft-spoken senator had fighting words with his opponents:
"Sit Down and Shut Up!"
In 2013, Reid became annoyed when a colleague couldn’t be heard over other senators talking. “Madame president, have senators sit down and shut up, OK?” Reid says in this video (he’s out of frame.):
Reid accused Republicans of obstructing government in the clip below. “Oft times, working with my Senate Republican colleagues, reminds me of chasing one of these little pigs in a greased pig contest,” he said. “Regardless of all of our efforts, any time we get close to making progress it seems as though we watch it slip out of our hands and the Republicans scamper away.”
"Irresponsible and Reckless"
Reid’s ire turned on CNN reporter Dana Bash during the 2013 government shutdown. Republicans passed a bill to fund the National Institutes of Health so children with cancer could undergo clinical trials. When Bash asked if Democrats would be playing politics if they didn’t go along, Reid got testy. “To have someone of your intelligence suggest such a thing means you’re irresponsible and reckless,” he said.
"Clown question, bro"
Reid is a baseball fan, and he borrowed a phrase from Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper in response to a reporter’s question: