WHEN: Today, Wednesday, April 15
WHERE: CNBC.com's Speakeasy with John Harwood - http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000371067
As Senate Democratic Leader, Harry Reid has been President Obama's key ally – pushing through health care and Wall Street reform when their party held the majority, trying to fend off Republican assaults now in the minority. After suffering a serious eye injury during a home exercise accident, he recently announced he would not seek re-election in 2016 after five terms. Filmed in his hometown of Searchlight, NV, Reid speaks candidly to CNBC's Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood about everyone from Rush Limbaugh and John Boehner to Bill and Hillary Clinton in the latest episode of CNBC Digital's original video series - Speakeasy.
A transcript from Speakeasy with John Harwood featuring Harry Reid follows. All references must be sourced to CNBC.com:
HARWOOD: People make the obvious connection, Reid, boxing, Washington. Has the fight changed?
REID: The fights are unfair. We have now 15 people in the country who basically control most of what goes on in politics.
HARWOOD: The last few days, a bunch of people are saying, Reid, he didn't have an exercise accident, he got beat up by the mob.
REID: It shows the credibility of Rush Limbaugh, he's the guy that got all this started. Why in the world would I come up with a story that I got hurt in my own bathroom with my wife standing there? How could anyone say anything like that? And I think a lot of people, as I read, they kind of don't like me as a person and I think that's unfortunate.
HARWOOD: Mitch McConnell just sent out letters to states saying don't follow through on Obama's climate plan.
REID: I don't criticize McConnell for doing that. He comes from a coal state. I don't mean to be mean-spirited but he is a lump of coal. He believes that coal is the salvation of the world. I don't believe that.
HARWOOD: Mitch McConnell put out a statement after you announced you were retiring, it did not include the word friend in it. What does that tell you?
REID: I guess he should have had me help write the press release, I don't know.
On John McCain:
REID: John McCain of course gets mad at me but that only lasts about that far. Wasn't long ago that he came to me on the senate floor and he said, what you just did, I'm going to come to the floor and kick the s**t out of you and I said to him, John if I were in your position, I would do the same thing.
HARWOOD: You said Boehner was acting like a dictator and he cussed you out the White House.
REID: If I had known it would make him that mad I wouldn't have said it. John Boehner, as a person, I like a lot. We've done a lot to get Congress out of serious problems. We don't do it publicly. But you go back and see all the crises we've had and they go away, we've had our fingerprints on that.
HARWOOD: You didn't offer a substantiation on Romney taxes.
REID: Why didn't he release his taxes? We should have transparency and Romney wouldn't release his taxes.
HARWOOD: You once called Alan Greenspan a political hack.
REID: Oh yeah, I remember that. I compared him to the J. Edgar Hoover. He became whatever the president wanted him to be.
On Ben Bernake
REID: I thought he did an outstanding job. He's my man. And he loves baseball.
HARWOOD: Didn't he do pretty much what Obama wanted?
REID: Well but he was, long before Obama was there, and I supported what he did before Obama and after.
HARWOOD: Are you entirely comfortable with Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee in 2016?
REID: Oh sure, I like Hillary very much. I talked to her husband yesterday. Clinton - I love the way he ends his conversation with me, it is so sincere.
HARWOOD: How does he end his conversation with you?
REID: Harry, I love you.
HARWOOD: Says that every time?
REID: That's what he says every time.
HARWOOD: Will there be a democratic race, and should there be one?
REID: I am not a big fan of primaries - I don't think they help. Especially when there's someone as noted as Hillary.
On Joe Biden
REID: I love Joe Biden. I could never say a bad word about him. He's a wonderful human being.
HARWOOD: Would you advise him not to challenge her?
REID: That's up to him. He's been around a long time, he can make that decision on his own without my advice.
HARWOOD: And how do you see the Republican fight. Who's the Republican nominee?
REID: You know I don't really care. I think they're all losers.
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