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November 27, 2014

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Weekend roundup: Reid on Obama, Week 13 in Carson City

WASHINGTON -- Greeting, Early Liners, from the nation’s capital where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is making news with the epilogue to his autobiography that reveals him as an early encourager of Barack Obama’s presidential aspirations.

In the new, final chapter to “The Good Life: Hard Lessons from Searchlight to Washington,” Reid writes that he told the then-freshmen senator in early 2007, “If you want to be president, you can be president now.”

As I reported in Sunday’s paper, Reid went on to tell the Las Vegas Sun in an interview that the encouragement came unsolicited:

“Reid recalled Obama as uncertain, even doubtful of his presidential prospects, according to the epilogue…

"'I think he was kind of surprised by the conversation,’ Reid told the Sun last week…

“This new, final chapter is a game-changer in the Reid-Obama relationship and reveals a deeper and potentially more intimate bond between the two men than Washington may have realized.

“The disclosure also forces a reassessment of Reid’s steadfast neutrality during the prolonged Democratic presidential nomination of 2008.”

Political junkies will find several other intriguing bits in the slim, 15-page chapter, including this one, as noted in my Sunday story:

“Reid notes that neither he, nor Obama, much enjoys chatting on the phone. Reid is famous for ending telephone conversations without a goodbye.

“One wonders: Do the majority leader and the president hang up on each other?”

The paperback version of the book, with the new chapter, is scheduled for release May 5.

Busy week scheduled here in Washington and in Carson City as deal-making and legislating shift into high gear.

Congress is hopeful it can tie a bow on the Obama’s budget by mid-week, in time for the president’s 100th day in office – even as some in the White House downplay the milestone as a Hallmark holiday.

But getting there may require Reid to employ a procedural tool called budget reconciliation that would shut out Republicans’ ability to block health care and education initiatives they likely oppose.

Republicans deride this approach, but as I wrote a few weeks back, both parties have used it plenty of times before.

In discussing Carson’s agenda, my colleague J. Patrick Coolican outlines the legislative road ahead (and bills left behind) in this extensive Sunday story assessing the session. Today starts week 13 up north.

But so much for policy, how about politics?

Another Republican is mulling a challenge to Reid, the RJ reported on Friday. New York banker John Chachas, who still owns a home in Ely, might be on the list. Those Republicans previously going public with their interest are former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki.

Meanwhile, Douglas County School Board President Cindy Olivas Trigg got an early start on the race to unseat Republican Rep. Dean Heller by announcing her candidacy Friday night in Reno. The Associated Press has the story in the Times-Standard here.

That’s all for now. Check back later for all the political news in Nevada.

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