By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
As Republicans drool over new polls that find Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid poised to join former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and former House Speaker Tom Foley in the election upset trash heap, the former Nevada boxer isn't even sweating. "The people in Nevada know me," he said.
This afternoon on Capitol Hill, Reid was asked about the Republican challengers breathing down his neck. One, Danny Tarkanian, son of the legendary University of Nevada-Las Vegas basketball coach, holds a 7 percentage point lead over Reid. Tarkanian, who has rapped Reid for being focused on national politics, was in Washington today meeting with GOP election officials. Another prominent Republican, Sue Lowden, holds a 10 percentage point lead in a recent Rasmussen poll.
Reid's response to reporters was simple. Let the Republicans fight it out with Republicans, he said. He'd come after them after they pick a nominee. "We'll deal with Republicans when that's necessary," he said. For now, Reid added, "we have a job to do."
Like most states, Nevada is suffering through the housing crisis, unemployment, and the recession. But Reid appears to feel that helping to enact President Obama's policies will help his re-election—as will a recovery. And if the recovery happens early next year as expected, Nevada and the country will be in a "good mood," he said, and presumably eager to keep him in the top Senate post.