Harry Reid to conciliatory Mitt Romney: phooey!

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a response to Mitt Romney’s claim that he will “reach across the aisle” to work with Democrats in Congress, if he becomes president: Don’t bet on it.

“Mitt Romney’s fantasy that Senate Democrats will work with him to pass his ‘severely conservative’ agenda is laughable,” the Nevada Democrat said in a statement Friday morning. He went on to list a series of Republican-backed measures he said Democrats would never support.

The exchange reminded some of the 2010 comments of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who famously told the National Journal: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

After leaning hard right during the primary season on issues like immigration and abortion, Romney has bent back to the middle in recent weeks. He has talked a lot about how he worked with Democrats when he was governor of Massachusetts.


But in his response Friday, Reid sounded he was about as interested in cooperation as he is in bringing nuclear waste to Pahrump, Nev.

“Mitt Romney’s tea party agenda has already been rejected in the Senate,” Reid said. “In the past few months, we have voted down many of the major policies that Mitt Romney has run on, from the Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it, to the Blunt amendment to deny women access to contraception, to more tax giveaways for millionaires and billionaires, to a draconian spending plan that would gut critical services for seniors and the most vulnerable Americans.”

The “Ryan plan” referred to vice presidential candidate Paul D. Ryan’s proposal to give Medicare recipients the option of a voucher to purchase medical insurance on the open market -- something the Republicans say will add to choice and Democrats say will gut services for seniors.

Obama campaign officials have said voters can’t trust which Romney they are getting — the man claiming to be a moderate in recent weeks, or the candidate who earlier described himself as a “severely conservative” governor.

In the rest of that 2010 interview, the Republican McConnell said he really didn’t want Obama to fail. “I want him to change,” he said.

“If President Obama does a Clintonian back flip, if he’s willing to meet us halfway on some of the biggest issues, it’s not inappropriate for us to do business with him,” McConnell said.

Reid offered no such conciliatory gesture. At least not yet.


Twitter: @latimesrainey