Public-Radio Listener Barack Obama Calls In to Say He’s Going to Miss Harry Reid So Much

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LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 22:  U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) appear at a campaign rally at Orr Middle School Park October 22, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Reid, who is seeking his fifth term, is in a tight race with Republican challenger Sharron Angle.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Barack Obama;Harry Reid
"I'm going to miss you so much." "Well, I'm going to miss you more." "No, I'm going to miss you the most."Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Senator Harry Reid went on Nevada Public Radio on Friday morning to talk about his decision to retire next year, and dozens of people called in to comment on the news. “Hello? Hello?” one of the callers said. “Is this Harry Reid? Harry, this is Barack.”

Well, I’ll be damned,” Reid said. The surprise caller on the line responded, “Are you allowed to say that on live radio?” 

Barack Obama is a fan of giving political friends a nice send-off on public radio; he crashed former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick’s last interview on WGBH last December to say, “Uh, Governor, this is Barack Obama, formerly of Somerville. I’ve got a few complaints about service in and around the neighborhood, but I’ve moved down South since that time.”

The president heaped praise on the Senate Minority Leader, saying that he had done “more for Nevada than anyone,” and that he “could not be prouder of him … he’s been one of my best partners and best friends.”

Obama also managed to make fun of Reid’s interviewing skills while Reid was in the middle of an interview. “There are a lot of folks who are — Harry, I hope you don’t mind if I say this — slicker and give smoother TV interviews, but in terms of somebody who’s got heart and cares about ordinary people trying to chase the American dream, I don’t think there’s been anybody ever.”

He added, “Harry is unique, and you know, he’s got that curmudgeonly charm that’s hard to replace. I’m going to miss him.” Obama ended the call by telling Reid to “get back to work.”

Obama’s time in D.C. will end only a few weeks after Reid’s in 2017, and over the course of his presidency their two legacies have grown increasingly entwined. As Vox pointed out this morning, “Obama has Harry Reid to thank for his biggest accomplishments.” Reid’s leadership in the Senate was a crucial ingredient in the success of the Affordable Care Act, the stimulus package, Dodd-Frank, and many other laws and legislative changes that Obama will be sure to reference as his presidency comes to a close. That doesn’t mean their relationship hasn’t had its ups and downs, but now that they’re both planning to leave town, they seem happy to embrace what Reid called “the eight years of Obama and Reid.”