Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday ridiculed outgoing Senator Scott Brown’s call for bipartisanship in Washington and said he is confident that a Democrat could beat Brown in a special election, if Senator John Kerry were to vacate his seat for a Cabinet position.
“I saw during the campaign his plea for bipartisanship. That is a big joke. It’s a travesty,” Reid told reporters. “He was one of the most partisan people that’s ever served here.”
Brown, who beat Democrat Martha Coakley in a special election in 2010, lost his bid for a full term last week to Elizabeth Warren, despite high approval ratings in Massachusetts. He ran largely on his willingness to reach across the aisle, often citing a Congressional Quarterly study that rated him as the second most bipartisan member of the Senate.
In a press conference on Tuesday, his first since the election, Brown again struck a bipartisan note and said he represents a “vanishing” breed of moderate politicians. He said he hopes the GOP will become a “more tolerant, open-minded party.”
Responding on Wednesday, Reid said that Brown “should go look in the mirror” before lamenting partisan gridlock.
“He could have saved Citizens United,” Reid said, referencing the DISCLOSE Act, which would have required corporations, unions and nonprofits that spend money on elections to identify themselves in ads and, in some cases, to name their donors. Brown voted against the bill in 2010, when the measure fell one vote short of the 60 needed to break a Republican filibuster.
“He could have been the 60th vote on that and many other things,” Reid added. “So I don’t need a lecture from him on bipartisanship.”
Marcie Kinzel, a Brown spokeswoman, disputed Reid’s claim that Brown has been severely partisan.
“Scott Brown has a proven record of working across party lines, and as a result, has been invited to the White House three times in the last year to stand next to the president to see bills that he has worked on signed into law,” Kinzel said.
Brown could seek a swift return to the Senate if Kerry becomes secretary of state or secretary of defense for President Obama’s second term. Brown also could run for governor in 2014, when Deval Patrick’s term ends.
Reid said Democrats “feel very comfortable—if, in fact, something does happen—we feel comfortable about Massachusetts.”Callum Borchers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.