Reid: It Was A Waste Of Time Dealing With Olympia Snowe


Hindsight’s 20-20, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid now thinks he and leading Democrats, at the behest of the White House, flushed months down the toilet courting Sen. Olympia Snowe’s (R-ME) support for health care reform.

“As I look back it was a waste of time dealing with [Snowe],” Reid is quoted as saying about the White House in a forthcoming New York Times Magazine piece, “because she had no intention of ever working anything out.”

That’s a harsh but understandable assessment. The White House was banking on Snowe’s support for months, both as a means of securing conservative Democrats’ support for the bill, and as a failsafe, in case Reid came up short on votes in the Democratic caucus. But after supporting the Senate Finance Committee’s reform proposal, Snowe was hesitant to support major changes to the legislation, which Reid needed to make to keep the progressive wing of his caucus from defecting.

Still, that’s unusually blunt language. It could easily raise eyebrows.


Brian Beutler is TPM’s senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he’s led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at