Washington (CNN) - The Silver State senator has proven once again that he lacks a silver tongue.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, took to the Senate floor Friday to trumpet the Labor Department's newly released jobless numbers. February's unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent as the economy shed 36,000 jobs. Not great, but the consensus forecast among economists at Briefing.com was for unemployment to rise to 9.8 percent with a net loss of 68,000 jobs.
Democrats wanted to seize on the numbers as evidence that the economic slide has stopped. Unfortunately for his colleagues, Reid mangled the message.
"Today is a big day in America," he proclaimed. "Only 36,000 people lost their jobs today, which is really good." Reid noted that prognosticators had expected the numbers to be much worse.
Republicans immediately pounced on the campaign ad fodder from the four-term senator, who is facing a tough re-election fight this year.
"It's difficult to think of a Washington politician who is more out of touch with working Americans than Harry Reid," National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh said.
"Only in Harry Reid's world is it a good thing that 36,000 more Americans lost their jobs in February. Unfortunately, it's working families in Nevada who continue to pay the price for Reid's out-of-touch and failed leadership."
Walsh urged Nevada voters to seek vengeance at the polls. "The silver lining is that Nevada voters who were outraged to hear Harry Reid wax poetic about the serious issues of joblessness will have the opportunity to send him to the unemployment line this November," he said.
Democrats were left shaking their heads. Reid is "his own worst enemy," one Democratic source said.
Reid returned to the Senate floor later in the day to cry foul. My remarks "are being irresponsibly mischaracterized by those seeking to score political points," he said. "It's undeniably devastating news" that 36,000 Americans lost their jobs last month, he noted. "But if we're going to discuss the state of our economy and the direction in which it's going - and if we're going to talk about it
like adults - we have to take a step back and put this number in context."
Reid argued that passage of the Democrats' $862 billion stimulus act had prevented a bad economic situation from becoming much worse. He also criticized Senate Republicans for obstructing an extension of unemployment benefits and a new jobs bill.
"I encourage my Republican friends to remember this critical context before their political reflexes lead them to make claims they know to be false," he said.
"And I warn them, once again, that this country has no place and no patience for those who root for failure."
–CNN's David Goldman contributed to this report
"Today is a big day in America,".....No, the big day in America will be when you and all your friends are no longer getting paid by the hard working taxpayer.
This guy Reid is a true jokester with an intellectual level of a moron. How he ever got elected, nevetheless as Speaker of the Senate, is beyond any comprehension. Yes, Pelosi and Reid come from the same thread - the tread of an idiot. Throw in Obama and you have a mixture for disastrous.
Anyone thinking this is a good thing no matter how they spin it is crazy. 10% of Americans are out of work. That doesn't count the people who are off unemployment and gave up. That real # is 17% ( estimated). Till jobs are gained and not more fake saved or created government jobs, there is no good news. The 36,000 people Reid speaks of don't see things as getting better or good news. I understand his point. This just another "gotcha" by the press and his opponents. Those of you claiming its the republicans doing something underhanded, think again. The left does it too. They do it louder. Want proof? Think about the lefts talking points. " The Republicans have no ideas on healthcare". The truth was the left didn't like the Republican ideas therefore they claim they had none.
Republicans would rather see 60 thousand jobs lost than 30. As a matter of fact, they'd prefer to see more jobs lost than 60 thousand. Oh for the glorious days of Bush and Cheney to return. 20 out of 28 years, the American people waited for the republican party to fix this country. What did we get? 1 foot in the hole of another great depression and the other foot on a banana peel.
Sniffit – I got this information from a CNN Money report. You were right about the job losses. The actual job losses for 2008 and 2009 were 7.2 million people. In 2008 2.6 million people loss their jobs and take that away from the total of 7.2 million people that means that actually in 2009 4.6 million people loss their jobs. Just thought I would research this and get close to the right nimbers.
I can think of several GOP'ers who are as out of touch as Reid. I agree, Reid IS out of touch, along with Nancy Pelosi. But so ar Boehner, et al. So really, it's just that they serve their corporate masters and not the people who actually cast the votes. This applies to both sides of the aisle.
well if the repos had their way many more jobs would have been lost. But they don't care anyway. Most of use are smart enough to know what senator Reid ment. Are the Reps really that stupid???
For Kevin Obama didn't cause you to loose any jobs dumbo but he has saved a few
When are the washington knuckles (Rep and Dem) going to take there job serious. Stop trying to get one up on someone and do the job for the people. Next time Ried needs to say "My bad" then no one will go bananas.