Reid: Nevada is a battle ground |

Reid: Nevada is a battle ground

LAS VEGAS – Nevada’s Harry Reid, the second most powerful Democrat in the U.S. Senate, told delegates to the party’s state convention Saturday Nevada is a battle ground that must be won to put Sen. John Kerry in the White House.

“We want the next president of the United States to serve because he got the most votes, not because he went fishing with Justice Scalia,” he said referring to Scalia’s hunting trip with Vice President Dick Cheney.

Reid said afterward President Bush has done a lot to unite people.

“He’s done a tremendous job uniting Democrats across the country,” he said.

He said most important in the presidential race is “we cannot let the Republican smear campaign distort John Kerry’s record, his military record.”

He said Kerry won a silver star and three purple hearts fighting for the country in Vietnam and will stand up to drug companies, oil companies and other special interests as President.

“The people’s house is supposed to be the White House but today it’s a palace of privilege,” Reid said.

He said the GOP distorts Kerry’s record “because they can’t talk about their record.”

He said Bush is the first president since Hoover to lose jobs, has wiped out a trillion dollar budget surplus, energy prices are at an historic high, 44 million Americans are without health insurance and that “his No Child Left Behind Act is leaving lots of kids behind.”

And he said Bush can’t talk about Iraq, where no weapons of mass destruction have been found, yet the war continues, worsening with more American soldiers dying.

Reid said most disturbing is Bush’s refusal to take responsibility for his record.

“Harry Truman said the buck stops here. President Bush has a sign that says, ‘Hey, don’t blame me,'” he said.

He told the assembled delegates they must not only work to elect Kerry but to replace Jon Porter in the House with Democrat Tom Gallagher to help turn the House Democratic.

“Tom Gallagher will vote for the state of Nevada,” he said. “We need someone to do what’s best for the state of Nevada, not for (GOP House leader) Tom DeLay.”

And he said he said the same efforts must be put out to turn the Nevada Senate Democratic and to maintain the Democratic majority in the Assembly.

Reid was followed by a rousing speech from longtime civil rights legend and Georgia Representative John Lewis who said Republicans “have been looking out for those at the very top and not for those in the middle or those at the bottom.”

He said in the civil rights movement in the 1960s when he was a key lieutenant for the Rev. Martin Luther King, “I got in the way. I got in trouble.””It’s time for the Democrats to get in the way, to get in trouble,” he said. “We must do what we can to take our country back. This administration has told lies and lies and lies. We must change it.”

Lewis charged that those lies range from the reasons for invading Iraq to the environment among other issues.

“How many more of our young men and women must die in Iraq,” he asked. “And how long must our young men and women stay in Iraq.”

He said Kerry will change that as President but that he won’t get there unless Democrats fight to put him in the White House.

“As Democrats, we’ve been a little too quiet. We need to make more noise,” he said.

Contact Geoff Dornan at or at 687-8750.