Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid urged his deputies to "just relax" in their dispute over leadership posts after his retirement.
The dispute involves Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, who hopes to succeed Reid, and Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois. Durbin pledged to support Schumer for the top job, his aides say, in the belief that Schumer would back Durbin for Democratic whip—the same post Durbin now holds.
Schumer's aides say there was no such pledge. Some Senate Democrats favor Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, one of the caucus' influential contingent of women, for whip if not leader.
"I'm certainly not going to take sides," Reid said in an interview in his hometown of Searchlight, Nevada. "I think they should both just sit down, relax.
"There's only one opening—that was the one for Schumer, and I made sure before my announcement that had been worked out between the two of them.
"I'm not going to vote for the next whip. They're just going to have to work that out on their own.
"At this time they should just sit down. It's a couple years away—just relax."