Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., are frequently at odds. One thing they do agree on is the good job Donald Ritchie has done in his many years in the Senate Historical Office, including in his role as Senate historian since 2009.
On the floor Thursday morning, McConnell called the retiring Ritchie “one of the smartest guys around here” and said, “I don’t think any of us would want to face him on ‘Jeopardy.'”
And Reid said the historian was one of the few people who could quell his rowdy caucus. “Every week I begin my caucus by calling on the Senate historian and he talks to us about so many fascinating things. … And quite frankly, it shuts up my caucus. When he shows up, they suddenly are attentive,” Reid said.
Among his achievements — including writing several books and serving as a resource for Dan Brown when he was writing “The DaVinci Code,” and Robert Caro for his work on Lyndon Johnson — perhaps one of the most extensive is the Senate Oral History Project .