By Alexander Bolton and Mario Trujillo - 10/29/13 08:25 PM EDT
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said he plans to meet privately with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to discuss their differences after Coburn reportedly referred to Reid as an “a--hole.” The meeting could be contentious, as Reid’s office took a shot of its own at Coburn on Tuesday, accusing him of “childish playground name-calling.”
The leader also swiped at Coburn’s legislative portfolio, saying the GOP senator had not written a piece of bipartisan legislation that became law during his decade in office.
Coburn’s office pushed back against the assertion that the GOP lawmaker has not worked across the aisle, referencing Coburn’s work on a student loan rate compromise earlier this year. His office also pointed to a law passed in 2006 — and co-sponsored by then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) — that set up a website to track recipients of federal funds.
“Adam’s opportunistic, and factually challenged, faux outrage shows why these conversations are best left at the member level,” said John Hart, a spokesman for Coburn.
Coburn himself took more shots at the majority leader, blasting him Tuesday morning for his management of the Senate, which has become increasingly partisan in recent years.
“I think he’s done more damage to the Senate than any majority leader,” Coburn said.
The GOP senator zeroed in on Reid’s regular practice of blocking Republicans from getting votes on various amendments, a defensive tactic known as “filling the tree.”
“Seventy-five times [he has] issued filling the tree and filing cloture to eliminate debate, to eliminate the idea that the Senate was supposed to force consensus,” he said.
As for when Reid and Coburn would meet, no time or date has been set.
Coburn declined to say when the meeting would take place. And a spokesman for Reid said Coburn had not yet requested one.
The back-and-forth stems from a report that Coburn called Reid an “absolute a--hole” Monday evening at a fundraising gala for the New York Young Republican Club. The New York Daily News reported the comment.
“There’s no comity with Harry Reid,” Coburn told the audience, according to the report.
Coburn said on Tuesday he would discuss his problems with Reid at a private meeting with the leader.
“My conversations in a private meeting will be handled with [Leader] Reid in private conversations,” he said.
Reid’s office pointed out this isn’t the first time Coburn blasted the leader.
“Since this is the second time in the last year or so Sen. Coburn has had to apologize to Sen. Reid, he knows where to find him,” said Jentleson. In 2012, Coburn apologized after calling Reid incompetent.
Reid has used his own tough language against Republicans in the past. Throughout the budget debate, the Democratic leader, who’s not afraid of throwing punches, continuously referred to Tea Party Republicans as “anarchists.” In 2008, he referred to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), then the GOP’s presidential nominee, as “erratic” and said he could not stand him.
Last year, he attacked 2012 nominee Mitt Romney for not releasing more tax returns.
“His poor father must be so embarrassed,” Reid said at the time, referencing Romney’s father, who had released more than a decades’ worth of returns during his presidential run in 1968.
— This story was last updated at 8:25 p.m.