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MSNBC: "Reid takes control of Frist's Senate"

Snippets from today's MSNBC article on Reid, Frist and the Senate this week:

"In the Bolton battle, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid proved that the Democrats can run the show — and they are running the show — with only 41 out of 100 senators.

Reid seems to have become Frist's Dementor, the frightening creature in the Harry Potter saga. According to one reference work, "Those kept in the company of a Dementor for too long are often driven insane" and it wouldn't be surprising by week's end if Frist felt he was succumbing to that fate.

...In the Senate, a majority leader can not govern with 55. He needs 60. This raises the stakes in next year’s key Senate races such as in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, where endangered GOP incumbents are trying to retain seats, and West Virginia and Florida where the Republicans are trying to win Democratic-held seats.

Earlier in the week, a bipartisan group of 14 senators (including Landrieu, Pryor and Nelson) had taken the initiative away from Frist by designing a deal that allowed three of Bush’s judicial nominees to get up-or-down votes while putting two others in doubt.

More importantly, the deal allowed the Democrats to retain the right to use extended debate, the filibuster, to block future Bush nominees.

Especially galling for Frist was that seven Republicans, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona, put their signatures on this accord, preventing him for now from calling for a vote on lowering the debate-ending threshold from 60 to 51.

Looking back at the shambles of a week for Republicans, Democratic analysts gloated.

“Bill Frist lost today. Badly,” said a Tuesday afternoon e-mail from Hillary Clinton campaign aide Ann Lewis. “Frist's right-wing allies are furious that he could not deliver on his promises…. Frist needs the right-wing power brokers on his side to win the 2008 presidential primaries. His hopes for victory just took a serious hit."
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