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Inside Sources: Previewing the VP debate with Harry Reid

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2016 file photo then Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington. Reid said Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, he thinks President Donald Trump has no conscience and he'd like to see Utah Sen. Mitt Romney run against Trump in 2020 for the GOP nomination for president. The 79-year-old Democrat, who served as Senate Majority Leader, said in a radio interview with KNPR in Nevada that the partial government shutdown over Trump's push for a U.S.-Mexico border wall is an example of Trump's behavior.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada expects “a good debate” out of the vice presidential candidates when they face off in Salt Lake City Wednesday night. 

Reid joined Boyd Matheson, opinion editor at Deseret News, on KSL NewsRadio’s Inside Sources, to talk about the debate between Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Vice President Mike Pence at the University of Utah.

What Reid expects from the debate

“What do you think Senator Harris is focusing on as she does her [debate] prep?” Boyd asked.

“Well, first of all, Mike Pence is a capable man. He is a longtime radio talk-show host. He’ll do fine,” Reid said. “Kamala Harris is a unique individual. I’ve known her since she was attorney general of California. . . . The thing that she’s noted for more than anything else is her great ability to examine witnesses. Her ability to cross examine. She’s just one of the best ever. . . So I expect it to be a good debate.

“I think Kamala will do very well. People will get to know her better. I’ve been impressed with her for many years. As each day goes by, I continue being one of her big fans,” Reid said.

“…lap dogs for Donald Trump”

“What is the state of the Senate today in terms of where it was when you were there? What are your hopes for the Senate moving forward?” Boyd asked.

“I think the state of the Senate is abysmal,” Reid said. “I think it’s really something that we should not be proud of. I look at the Senate in the years when we had Democrats and Republicans actually doing what legislation is all about and that is compromising.

“What has happened during the Trump years is the Republican senators have lost their souls,” Reid said. “The only senator who stepped forward and done the right thing for the country on several occasions is Mitt Romney. The rest of the Republicans have been lap dogs for Donald Trump.”

Reid said the only thing the Senate does today is approve judges. 

“They don’t have debates. They don’t vote on amendments,” he said. “. . . The one thing they have accomplished is the absolute denigration of the Senate by having 60 votes for everything.”

Senate can recover

Reid said the filibuster is on its way out. 

A filibuster is a political procedure in which one or more members of Congress debate over a bill so as to delay or prevent a decision being made on the proposal.

“The Republican senators are . . .  just not individualistic. They go along with whatever Trump wants. And it’s created lots of problems,” Reid said. 

“Senator, as you look at the state of the Senate, and I share much of that sentiment, although I would probably stretch the blame across a little further because it has been a both-sides issue. I know in my time in Washington it was commonplace to walk on to the floor of the Senate to someone giving a speech to a camera and a few interns and a few Senate pages, rather than having that real robust debate in front of the American people. Do you think there’s a way to get back to where senators . . . will actually ever be debating, amending, compromising, voting on the floor of the Senate in front of the American people?” Boyd asked.

“Yes. I think the filibuster, if it goes away, it will still be a great body,” Reid said. “. . . I think the Senate can recuperate [and] return to its former great debating society.”


Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 11:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.