The White House reacts to news that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid will retire, saying Obama does not plan to endorse either candidate in what may be a contested race for the Senate leadership. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: The White House reacted to news on Friday (March 27) that U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid will retire next year and that he had swiftly thrown his weight behind New York Senator Chuck Schumer to replace him as leader. White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said President Obama looks forward to working with Reid as a "close partner" during the remainder of his term but that Obama does does not intend to endorse either candiate in what may be a contested race for the Senate leadership Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the no. 2 Democrat in the chamber, was considered among the Democrats who might seek to replace Reid as their party leader in the Senate. Durbin announced later in the day via a spokesman that he will not seek to succeed Reid and supports Senator Chuck Schumer for the leadership post in 2016. Reid's decision to retire muddies the outlook for the Democratic Party as it seeks to retake control of the Senate in 2016. He had a tough re-election fight in Nevada in 2010 and it is unclear what impact his departure will have on Democrats' ability to hold the seat. The Democrats hold 44 seats in the Senate. Republicans hold 54 seats and independents two. Reid, who is 75, said Schumer, now the No. 3 Senate Democrat, would probably win the caucus' top post without opposition. He said the other likely contender, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, would probably defer to Schumer, according to the newspaper report. Durbin has the caucus' No. 2 spot now. Reid said earlier in a video message his decision not to seek re-election was not due to a recent exercising accident or his party's loss of control of the Senate in congressional elections last November.