Kane laughed and pointed out the Senate minority leader has actually called a lot of people a lot of colorful names in his 30-plus year career in Congress. In fact, prodding his political opponents -- often very directly in ways other pols won't -- is what Reid is known for.
"I'm trying to reform," Reid explained.
Or not. Just a few minutes after that, Reid had this to say about another politician known for rejoinders and insults, Donald Trump: "I don't want to be like Donald Trump."
And of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.): "I don't want to be like Kevin McCarthy."
Perhaps Reid suddenly remembered his resolution, because he added of McCarthy: "Although he's a handsome guy."
Reid even managed to insult an entire state or two in his interview with Kane. Of New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary status for picking the president, Reid said: "There are not any minorities there, and nobody lives there." Nobody? Ouch.
Of Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus status: "There are a few people there, but again it's a place that does not demonstrate what America is all about."
Yep, that was all in a little under 17 minutes.
No surprise, Reid's big mouth gets him in trouble just as often as it delights hardcore supporters. His Post interview basically handed New Hampshire Republicans a gift in the competitive 2016 Senate race there; they put Democratic Senate candidate and Gov. Maggie Hassan in an awkward position by demanding she denounce Reid's comments about her state. (For what it's worth, Reid added in his interview with Kane: "I don't mean to denigrate New Hampshire or Iowa, but they shouldn't be the ones whose choosing who should be president.")
But the reality is Harry Reid will be Harry Reid. His staff long ago gave up on trying to get him to stick to a script. And his instinct to say what's on his mind, no matter how blunt, has sometimes even worked out for him.
One area in which this has arguably paid dividends is with the Koch brothers. Reid was on the Senate floor one day in October 2013 when the then-Senate majority leader reportedly ad-libbed an attack against the then-relatively unknown libertarian-leaning billionaires: “By shutting down the government,” Reid said, “we’re satisfying the Koch brothers and Ed Meese, but millions of people in America are suffering.”
From there, a full-scale War on the Kochs was born, which Politco's Kenneth Vogel detailed nicely back in 2014. It's debatable how effective that strategy was for Democrats in the midterms, where Senate Republicans wrested control of the chamber from Reid's party for the first time since 2007. But Reid successfully revved up a long-term Democratic agenda to inject the Kochs' behind-the-scenes influence into the public sphere. And he's still trying to frame the Kochs in a negative light today:
Sure, the fallout from Reid's words doesn't always go his way. But the senator hasn't seemed to face many consequences for the times he's been a little loose with the facts. Three months before the 2012 presidential election, Reid dropped a bombshell on the Senate floor, saying he had heard (from someone he wouldn't name) that then-GOP nominee Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for the past decade.
The accusation earned Reid four Pinocchios from Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler, and his means-to-an-end defense three years later -- "Romney didn't win, did he?" -- earned him an incredulous write-up from our own Chris Cillizza, who called Reid's mindset "absolutely toxic for politics and, more importantly, democracy."
But that was about it. Reid was not up for reelection when he made the accusation, and you could make the argument that even if he were, voters in Nevada who feel strongly one way or the other about him wouldn't have been swayed by yet another shocking Reid statement, no matter how many Washington eyebrows it raised. He was supposed to lose in 2010, but he won anyway.
As it turns out, though, Reid won't be up for reelection at all. He says he's not seeking a sixth term in office because he wants to get out on top.
"I want to be remembered for my first 34 years not my last six," he told Kane.
A not-insignificant part of Reid's legacy will certainly be his big mouth. It's tripped him up, it's helped him out, it's what he's known for. And, despite his best efforts, it surely won't be closing over the final year of his tenure.