From Sunday’s session with Tim-MEH:
George Bush is a Liar:
MR. RUSSERT: When the president talked about Yucca Mountain and moving the nation’s nuclear waste there, you were very, very, very strong in your words. You said, “President Bush is a liar. He betrayed Nevada and he betrayed the country.”
Is that rhetoric appropriate?
SEN. REID: I don’t know if that rhetoric is appropriate. That’s how I feel, and that’s how I felt. I think to take that issue, Tim, to take the most poisonous substance known to man, plutonium, and haul 70,000 tons of it across the highways and railways of this country, past schools and churches and people’s businesses is wrong. It’s something that is being forced upon this country by the utilities, and it’s wrong. And we have to stop it. And people may not like what I said, but I said it, and I don’t back off one bit.
Wall Street fat-cats are trying to steal Social Security:
MR. RUSSERT: Private accounts for Social Security–the president has made that a priority of his domestic agenda. Will you work with him in privatizing part of Social Security?
SEN. REID: Tim, I can remember as a little boy my widowed grandmother with eight children. She lived alone, but she felt independent because she got every month her old age pension check. That’s what this is all about. The most successful social program in the history of the world is being hijacked by Wall Street. Yes, Social Security is a good program. And if the president has some ideas about trying to improve it, I’ll talk to him, and we as Democrats will, but we are not going to let Wall Street hijack Social Security. It won’t happen. They are trying to destroy Social Security.
MR. RUSSERT: No private accounts?
SEN. REID: They are trying to destroy Social Security by giving this money to the fat cats on Wall Street, and I think it’s wrong.
Social Security is solvent through 2055:
SEN. REID: Tim, all experts say that Social Security beneficiaries will receive every penny of their benefits that they’re entitled to–100 percent of them–until the year 2055. After that, if we still do nothing, they’ll draw 80 percent of their benefits. I want those beneficiaries after year 2055 to draw 100 percent of their benefits. But this does not require dismantling the program. For heaven’s sakes, they’re crying wolf a little too regularly here. There is not an emergency on Social Security. We can do this. The president should not try to jam this private accounts in an effort to destroy Social Security.
In the early–when Social Security came before the Congress, who opposed it? The Republicans. And they have a long memory. They’ve been trying to destroy Social Security for a long time and now they think they have an opening to do it.
Same-Sex Marriage is a State Issue:
SEN. REID: Tim, we have in America today many, many states–I don’t know the exact number; I think 11 or 13 in this last election cycle–said there can no–in our state, you have to have marriage between a man and a woman. That’s the law in the state of Nevada. And within a couple years, even Massachusetts, that will be the law. And we in Congress recognized there would be some controversy over this, so we passed the Defense of Marriage Act that says you do not have to recognize the marriage laws of another state. That’s the law of the land. And I think that we have to be very, very careful about how we tamper with the Constitution. I have agreed reluctantly on several occasions to agree to constitutional amendments. But frankly, in the history of this country, there’ve been over 11,500 attempts to amend the Constitution, and I want to approach those amendments very, very cautiously. I do not think it’s necessary at this time to have a constitutional amendment in that regard.
Clarence Thomas – An Embarrassment:
MR. RUSSERT: Why couldn’t you accept Clarence Thomas?
SEN. REID: I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court. I think that his opinions are poorly written. I don’t–I just don’t think that he’s done a good job as a Supreme Court justice.