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Why Rand Paul liking Harry Reid matters for Alison Lundergan Grimes

Why Rand Paul liking Harry Reid matters for Alison Lundergan Grimes

by Joe Arnold


Posted on June 10, 2014 at 11:12 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is apparently not the only Kentucky politician who shares a positive rapport with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).

One day after the release of a recording from Grimes' fundraiser with Reid in which she described keeping in regular contact with Reid and he told Grimes he was "depending" on her, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) on Tuesday described his own "warm" relationship with the Democratic leader as they work together on a tax holiday proposal.

Paul is endorsing and campaigning for fellow Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell against Grimes in the Senate race.

"Senator Reid and I actually have very warm, personal relations," Paul said in a Tuesday interview on CNBC's Squawk Alley, "and we have been meeting informally for months, both us and staff to try to do something good for America."

Paul and Reid have partnered on a tax repatriation holiday plan to tap into the estimated $2.1 trillion in untaxed corporate profits of U.S. companies which operate overseas.  Paul estimates the measure could create a $60 billion windfall for the U.S. over the next three years.  He and Reid hope to attach the plan to the transportation bill, providing much-needed revenue for road and bridge projects.

"I like Harry Reid personally," Paul said.  "I'm working hard with him."

Conversely, Capitol news reports indicate the relationship between Reid and Kentucky's senior senator, Mitch McConnell (R), has grown increasingly icy in recent years, as McConnell has implemented various parliamentary devices to stymie the Democratic agenda in the Senate and Reid has taken extraordinary measures to change Senate rules to get around McConnell.

As McConnell's reelection campaign nationalizes the Senate race, linking Grimes to Reid and President Barack Obama, McConnell often reminds Kentucky voters that a vote for Grimes is in essence a vote to keep Reid the majority leader and a vote for the Obama agenda.

Reid is especially vilified in coal-rich Kentucky for his opposition to coal-fired power plants and for his support of the Affordable Care Act. 

Yet, in their remarks at the fundraiser, both Reid and Grimes made no secret of their burgeoning partnership.

“The leader always tells me that when we talk as you all know, there are a lot of friends in this room who have been with this campaign before it was cool to be with this campaign,” Grimes said at the fundraiser. “And he always says when we talk on the phone, ‘Alison, it is quality not quantity.’”

Saying he was proud of Grimes' campaign, Reid called her "something special," the "perfect candidate,” and as good as her father, Democratic insider Jerry Lundergan, said she is.

“Nobody should take her femininity for weakness,” Reid said of Grimes.