Reid offers Bunning an olive branch

More than a few heads turned on the Senate floor Tuesday when Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSanders and Schumer are right: Ellison for DNC chair The Hill's 12:30 Report Hopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs MORE (D-Nev.) used the occasion of Oakland A’s pitcher Dallas Braden’s perfect game on Sunday to sing the praises of an unlikely colleague, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.).

Reid spoke for five minutes about the Hall-of-Famer’s perfect game in 1964, using words like “stupendous,” “unbelievable” and “truly amazing.”

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The oratory love-fest was a sharp turnaround from comments Reid made less than three months ago, when he slammed Bunning for holding up an emergency unemployment benefits package in the Senate.

At the time, Reid said Bunning and the GOP had gone “too far” and accused the Kentucky lawmaker of hypocrisy, saying the senator was “out there lecturing the country on pay-go, something he didn’t vote for.”

Bunning, along with most GOP senators, opposed a pay-as-you-go budgetary bill backed by President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaDHS may relax hiring requirements to meet border agent goal: report New DNC chairman wastes no time going after Trump US weighs withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council: report MORE earlier this year.

But all that appeared to be behind Reid on Tuesday, as he held Bunning up as a paragon of athletic achievement and an example of how diverse and accomplished the Senate is. He even acknowledged the past tensions, albeit gently, when he said that “Sometimes in this body ... our political passions get in the way of our personal relationships and the respect we show for one another ... None of us is perfect.”

Bunning’s office declined to comment on the kindness, but the compliment likely came as a pleasant surprise to the GOP senator, who isn’t exactly buddy-buddy with his own party’s leader, fellow Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGOP grapples with repeal of popular ObamaCare policy New DNC chairman wastes no time going after Trump Dem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks MORE, either.

Not everyone was bowled over by Reid’s magnanimous gesture. As one Democratic Senate staffer observed, “It’s easy to be nice to the guy who’s retiring.” Bunning announced in July of last year that he will retire at the end of his term.

Maybe so, but it’s still nice.