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Senate Leader Harry Reid Urging More Respect: 'I Intend to Do My Part'

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, greeting lawmakers in the first Senate session since the tragic shootings in Tucson, urged his colleagues Tuesday to be "more civil" to each other and "reintroduce truth" to legislative debates.

Since the "numbing tragedy" that killed six and severely wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Jan. 8, Reid said the nation resumed a debate over the "words, tone and metaphors" used in Congress and on the campaign trail. "There is no evidence that partisan politics played any role in this monstrous attack," he said. "Even so, we should be more civil anyway. Being more mindful of the weight of our words always helps. We have much more to gain than to lose from civility and discretion."

Speaking slowly and deliberately on the Senate floor, Reid said the issue of civility "goes beyond inflammatory rhetoric or hate speech. It also means not questioning each other's motives, or calling into question the patriotism of a colleague."

Words matter, he said. It is not enough, Reid asserted, to rephrase an attack line like "job killing" to "job destroying," as House Republicans have done when referring to the new health care law. There is no evidence the law would take away jobs, he maintained. "Changing our rhetoric requires us to debate the facts, not invent them."

Reid (D-Nev.) is no stranger to strong rhetoric. He ruffled feathers in Washington last week when -- in the midst of a state visit -- he denounced China President Hu Jintao as a "dictator."

On Tuesday, Reid said "some may be motivated by the conversation that started after Arizona, and many will seek more civility simply because it's the right thing to do . . . I intend to do my part."

Watch part of the majority leader's floor speech, courtesy YouTube.

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6 Comments

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kooter985

Looks like Harry Reid is invoking the "Can't we all just get along" phrase. Looking at his beady little eyes, to know he was on another planet would not make me trust him any more. He is devious, calculating and cunning as a rattlesnake.

January 27 2011 at 7:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
kooter985

Reid has to be kidding when he of all people talks about civilty and mutual respect. This is the guy who locked Republicans out of healthcare negotiations, shot down all amendments introduced by Republicans, etc. Now since his party took a good ole fashioned political whoop arse in November 2010 he wants to be civil. How novel!!!!!

January 27 2011 at 7:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
John Vilvens

Harry the only way the people can tell you are lying is your lips are moving. What were you saying about people trying to repeal obamacare? You should just keep your mouth closed, it is better for people to think you are dumb then to open your mouth and prove it.

January 26 2011 at 6:22 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
dc walker

Mr. Reid you made my week. I finally realized why the People of Nevada voted you back as their senator. It wasn't for your billiance, it wasn't for the earmarks, it wasn't because they disliked your opponent it was because your silly statements make them laugh on a daily basis.

January 25 2011 at 8:57 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
monza866

He wasn't so nice when they had a super majority.

January 25 2011 at 5:55 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
Michael

How about a little respect for the expressed will of the voters NOT to pass the Obamacare mess by hook or by crook?

January 25 2011 at 4:14 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply
ettu

That means keeping the same attitude behind closed doors, as the one you present in public. Civility and inclusion should not end once the mike is turned off, and the room empties.

January 25 2011 at 4:08 PM Report abuse +14 rate up rate down Reply

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