Retiring Harry Reid touts friendship with Mitch McConnell

Sen. Harry Reid is retiring next year and his farewell gave us the opportunity to witness something we rarely see in Congress: cross-party civility.

"We're friends. Everyone, I know you don't like this story, but Mitch McConnell and I are friends," Reid said during his portrait unveiling ceremony.

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The Senate Democratic leader noted he's built up a rapport with his Republican counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell, over the decades they've spent in the Senate together.

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Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks on the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, stands next his official portrait during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. Reid, the tart-tongued ex-boxer known for pugilistic rhetoric about Republicans, is marking the end of his 34-year career in Congress with the unveiling of his official portrait that was painted by former Senate staffer Gavin Glakas. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, speaks during a news conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. Hillary Clinton pulled out a victory over Bernie Sanders in Nevadas Democratic caucuses that will help right her campaign as both candidates head into a 10-day blitz of crucial contests starting next Saturday in South Carolina.

(Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks with reporters regarding a stop-gap funding bill to avoid a federal government shutdown later this week on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 23: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks at a campaign rally with U.S. President Barack Obama for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Cheyenne High School on October 23, 2016 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Obama urged Nevadans to vote early one day after a record-breaking start to early voting in the swing state with almost 40,000 people going to the polls ahead of the November 8 general election. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 01: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks at a get-out-the-vote rally featuring first lady Michelle Obama at Canyon Springs High School November 1, 2010 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Recent polls show Reid, who is seeking his fifth term, four points behind Republican challenger Sharron Angle. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES â SEPTEMBER 22: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., participates in the Senate Democrats' news conference in the Capitol on Thursday Sept. 22, 2011, to urge House Republicans to fully fund disaster relief. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) appears on 'Meet the Press' Sunday, Jan 9, 2011 at his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.. (Photo by Stephen J. Boitano/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) talks to reporters after the weekly Democratic Senate policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol February 3, 2015 in Washington, DC. Reid is wearing a bandage over his right eye after undergoing surgery to repair damage from an exercise accident. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-AZ) speaks during a pen and pad session with reporters at the US Capitol January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Reid spoke about the injury he suffered over the Christmas break and talked about issues before the US Senate. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 20: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., makes his way through the Senate Reception Room after the senate luncheons on his first day in the Capitol since injuring himself in a exercise accident, January 20, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Senate Minority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) leaves a meeting with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Reid returned to work at the US Capitol on Tuesday for the first time since suffering injuries in an exercise accident in late December at his Las Vegas-area home. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. Reid, the U.S. Senate's top Democrat, will have surgery next Monday to try to restore full vision to his right eye. Reid suffered three broken ribs, a concussion and broken facial bones near his right eye socket in a New Year's Day accident. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images ** Local Caption *** Harry Reid

It's a relationship we don't often get to see, for professional reasons.

"I have never seen anything more craven than Mitch McConnell and what he's done to our democracy," Reid said during the Democratic National Convention.

McConnell, in turn, blasted Reid for changing the Senate's rules on filibusters in 2013, telling Politico, "I think he did a lot of damage to the institution and further soured relations."

And Reid condemned McConnell's refusal to denounce President-elect Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric, saying, "It shows Sen. McConnell is a poster boy for Republican spinelessness."

Things can sometimes get personal: A closed-door legislative meeting between Reid and McConnell in 2015 ended with Reid storming off in a huff. It lead to a period of protracted partisan sniping in the Senate.

But now that Reid's on his way out, the senators can afford to show a little more civility.

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"If there's one thing we know about Harry, it's that he doesn't give up easily," McConnell said.

And Reid said, "I don't like what he does a lot of the time; he doesn't like what I do most of the time. But that's OK. We understand what our jobs are."

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