WASHINGTON — Retiring Sen. Carl Levin on Tuesday delivered a rosy endorsement of the man first in line to replace him as Senate Armed Services Committee chairman in two years.
The Michigan Democrat told reporters that SASC Vice Chairman Jack Reed, D-R.I., is “the perfect guy to replace me” if Senate Democrats maintain a majority in the chamber after the 2014 midterm elections.
Levin, who announced March 7 that he would not seek re-election, cited two primary reasons for endorsing Reed.
“Hopefully, Democrats keep control,” Levin said. “I think he’s great. He’ll be a terrific chairman. I just think you couldn’t do better.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Monday used part of his day-opening leader floor speech to praise Levin’s 34-year Senate tenure.
At one point, Reid hailed Levin as “the nation’s most respected voice on national security.”
Levin on Tuesday dismissed any worries that his departure would degrade the level of knowledge among Armed Services Committee members.
“There’s a lot of experience on the committee — including Reed,” Levin said. “Maybe there’s a lot of newcomers at the end of the table. There’s a good balance on this committee of newcomers and a lot of experience. There won’t be a shortage of [knowledge].”
Moments later, Reed — traveling at his usual rapid pace — waved off reporters who asked about his interest in the job. Reed said before entering an elevator: “Sen. Levin is the chairman.”