Minority Leader Harry Reid, who announced Friday he won't seek reelection in 2016, spent more than three decades in the Senate, the last as Democratic leader. Though famous for his soft-spoken delivery, Reid's reputation is one of a scrappy fighter, delivering jabs to his fellow elected officials fitting for a former amateur boxer.
Here, a few memorable moments in his rough-and-tumble life.
1. In 2005, in the middle of George W. Bush's second term as president, Reid was speaking to a group of high school juniors from Las Vegas when he got a little too candid about the commander in chief: "The man's father is a wonderful human being," Reid said. "I think this guy is a loser." He later called Bush to apologize for his comments.
2. In the late 1970s when Reid was head of the Nevada Gaming Commission, he was supposed to help the FBI arrest an entertainment manager who had tried to bribe him. Instead of following the agreed-upon plan, Reid tried to choke the man, yelling, "You son of a bitch, you tried to bribe me!" before the FBI could restrain him.
3. Reid ascended to power from humble—and uncommonly challenging—beginnings in a Nevada mining town, and his upbringing prematurely toughened him. According to a 2010 profile in The New Yorker, "at fourteen, Reid had a fistfight with his father (because he was beating Reid's mother). At nineteen, he had a fistfight with his future father-in-law (because he opposed his daughter's marriage)." A high school teacher of Reid's—Mike O'Callaghan, who'd later become the governor of Nevada—helped him use that pugnacity in starting his lightweight boxing career.