Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insisted Wednesday he's committed to building consensus with Senate Republicans, telling reporters he is "begging for Republican input."
But the man who had to come from behind to retain his Senate seat also criticized his GOP counterparts for obstructing much of the legislative agenda Democrats laid out in the last two years.
Reid acknowledged the Republican takeover of the House and gains in the Senate mean there's a new political reality on Capitol Hill and said that collaboration is in order. But, he said, Republicans could have already been cooperating.
"I think that every piece of legislation that we passed had to jump through all the procedural hoops to do. Each one of those we could have improved the legislation with some Republican input, but they simply weren't willing to work with us. That is where they came up with the designation of the party of no," he told reporters at a news conference.
"I have always felt that my job is to build consensus, to work out legislation," he said. "It's not a bad word to suggest that legislation is the art of compromise. That is what it is. So I am going to do everything I can to do that."
Asked three times what he would do differently, including moving the party's agenda to the right to achieve some compromise, Reid said he welcomes GOP ideas but maintained that to date Republicans haven't been willing to come to the table.
"I don't think this is a question of right or left. It's a question of doing the best thing for the American people." He said he would welcome "serious Republican ideas" but again criticized them for not working to build bipartisan bills on Wall Street reform, environmental and national service legislation.
Reid used a question about his victory strategy as an opening to unleash an attack on the media.
"We've got to do something about these misleading polls that are all over the country. They are so unfair, and you just gobble them up no matter where they come from. You just run with them like they are the finest pastry in the world. They're false and misleading, and people pay for those polls so you will use them," he said.
A series of polls commissioned by media outlets in the last weeks showed his race against Tea Party-backed Republican Sharron Angle a dead heat or gave Angle a small advantage.
"I told people for weeks I was comfortable with where I was with the polls. But every poll showed me losing, and I was comfortable," he said.
So how did Reid, with high negatives in the state with the largest unemployment, manage to pull out a five point decisive victory? In his press conference he touted the Hispanic turnout, which was about 17 percent - higher than anticipated. It appears the Angle campaign alienated some Latino voters by running ads that cast Hispanic looking people as lawbreakers and angered others with a gaffe in which the candidate said some students at a Hispanic high school "look Asian."
Another key to the Reid's victory was the Democrats' statewide get-out-the-vote operation. He went into Election Day with a healthy lead in the early vote that proved valuable when turnout on Election Day was lighter in the state than anticipated. Reid did well in the Democratic stronghold of Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, and he also beat Angle in her home area of Washoe County in the northern part of the state.
The day after election was not a day of rest for the majority leader. He faces the perils of pursuing the Democrats' agenda with a bare majority. With only a few hours of sleep, he did the morning talk show circuit at 4 a.m. Then he did a conference call with fellow Senate Democrats, and followed that with the news conference and a telephone briefing for reporters with other members of the Senate Democratic leadership.
The media does really have to take some responsibility for this political game. I'm a liberal, no apologies, but even the liberal media have talked about nothing but Sarah Palin, Sharon Angle, Christine O'Donnell and all the other nutbags on the right. They hang on every word these idiots say and analyze them to death. Even Keith Olberman has talked about nothing but the Tea Party for months! Has anyone had any in-depth interviews with Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi? The right has painted them as some kind of monsters, and it's the press that has made this distortion possible. And it's not just Fox News, it's all of you. Whether you're praising them, taking them seriously, or villifying them and pointing out how stupid they are, it's all you've talked about. Where the hell is Bill Moyers?
Stop throwing your pearls in front of swine. The GOP will never work with you or Obama. They hate Obama, always have and always will. Get over it, accept it and move on. Just stop begging, they are not worth the trouble.
Suddenly the Repubs clamor for compromise. For two years they were obstructionist to say the least. I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw a slurpee.
Congrats Mr.Reid,you hit the nail on the head,no help from the right.Now they have no choice,work for a change.Mr.Reid please crack the whip on the repugs backs and make their temporary home for 2 years a painful one.They deserve it ,they wrecked this country,you Repugs know it so don't point fingers !Get to work,remember boys promises to keep,have fun! Ha Haaaaaaa!!
keep on hoping and dreaming there Harry. It's good that the people of Nevada woke up not to put a lunatic in Congress, but if you think this bunch they did put in is going to be willing to work with you guys think again. The GOP said before the elections NO COMPROMISE!! Get ready to dig your heels in for a rough next two years.
OK, Senator Reid, you've done more than any person should have in your efforts to get the Republicans to cooperate.
Now is the time to dig in your heels. The Democrats are still in the majority in the Senate. Propose and push through legislation that will help the Middle Class and get our country working again.
Call the Republicans on their bluff to filibuster and block everything – and say it loud and clear, day after day, letting the American people know that it's the Republicans who are causing our country problems, not the Democrats.
Sound like a broken record, if you must. But get the word out about the Democrats' and the President's accomplishment – and make it crystal clear just how obstructionist, self-centered and thoroughly despicable the Republican Party has become!
Come on Reid, wake up and smell the roses!!! Repubs and Americans(Note to Harry – see election results) did not like your agenda so just why did you expect Repubs to support and help you push it?? When they came with ideas you shot them down because of your majorities and went with your ultra liberal policies.. Thank god the Repubs fought you or who knows what else would have been passed by you fools. Americans stood up November 2nd and took their country back!
Wow, what a load of malarkey. Reid is the leader of the group of politicians who decided to conduct their affairs regarding health care behind closed doors to specifically exclude Republicans from any decision-making process! He's also the one who put forward that sickening "DREAM" act, specifically to get the GOP to vote no so that he could get some good sound bites before the elections came up. (For those who don't remember, the DREAM act was going to encourage illegal immigrants to join our military. Yes, you read that right: foreign nationals in our military.
The sooner Reid is voted out of office, the better off our nation will be.
Begging the Republicans ? Please. That man is really making me sick and I am a democrat !
Harry! They will give as much input as thy did the last 2 years! None! Remember their main goal is to make Obama a one term president and they don't give a d about the average American or what the needs of the country are! Yet, they win an election from a bunch of ignorants!
I think it would be both a tactical and symbolic coup if Reid voluntarily stepped down as Majority Leader when the new Senate convenes in January. I think he has tried to do all the right things but he is not a charismatic-type leader, does not make a good impression speaking to the public, and has been less effective than Obama needed. Even if none of that were true, a "change in the face" of the Senate Democrats would give them a fresh start and draw attention to their message rather than to their hard-won-reelected messenger.
BLAME BLAME BLAME. And it continues. What Reid, Pelosi and Obama need to wake up to is that the American people reject what they've done and demand they change course. Every single race in this country was a referendum on the President and the fact he doesn't get that scares me, but also makes me hopeful he will be a one term President. The GOP ran this as a referendum and if the American people believed in the President then the GOP would not have had the gain they did, gains that haven't been seen in 75 years. Wake up Democrats. Obama fooled you all and now your party pays the price.
This guy is senile...begging for GOP input, I recall the input on healthcare reform that the GOP worked hand in hand with moderate Dems in the House being completely ignored in favor of Nasty Nancy and Horrible Harry's late night version. Nevada, you are going to get what you voted for, more of the same! GOP in the House will now make all those dirty little pork chop deals Harry brought to your State a thing of the past, perhaps you should ask your Union Locals for some help!
These Republicans sure like their Health Insurance.. but want to Repeal it for everyone else...
There is no compromise with Republicans. Haven't you learned anything in 2 years?? This is not a gentleman's club anymore, not after John Sink-a-carrier McCain put Palin the half governor in as his VP candidate. Get over it, put the current House bills, AND ALL OF THEM up for a vote.
This man is incredeibly stupid. Doesn't he know outside his little corner of Nevada nobody wants him. They think of him as Obama's shoeshine boy. He barely hung on to his seat. We intended to get him but undoubtedly that part of Nevada is loaded with cannibals and don't understand how to vote. GET THIS REID NO PATRIOTIC AMERICAN LIKES OR NEED YOU. SO GO AWAY.
And he hopes that no one checks all of the SEIU chicanery, vote theft and bribes that helped reelect him because he is a corrupt and slimy liar.
Yesterday many democrats didn’t go to the poling station one reason polls Past two weeks media polls show Harry Reid was behind 3 to 5 points . Many democrats thought if Reid loses that will be big lost so they lost confidence they didn’t go to the poll kind of frustration
Good job Reid! Give those bickering souls some 2 do.
All politician are full of it! A lot of lies. Things won't be getting better anytime soon.
DEM should vote for another senate leader.
Harry Reid, by virtue of his comments, epitomizes why the Democrats took such a beating on all levels of elections yesterday. He is essentially holding firm in blaming the Republicans for the dissatisfaction level and lack of trust people expressed up to and including the elections. He is lucky he ran against an inexperienced and less well funded opponent. The voters have spoken- to both parties. Its too bad Harry Reid thinks they are wrong and therefore apparently isn't listening.
Well.. if the Democrats actually had the spines to say this (not the day after the elections) but during the campaigns, then maybe America would have been a little sympathetic tho their cause. Instead, Dems bot punked and rolled over on their policies and their President, and divided-ly fell... Obamas been trying, this is true, but with little support from his party and the obvious obstruction from the right, no wonder they lost the house. Reid and Obama shouldve rallied the troops, established a focused message, shined light on all of the past 2 years accomplishments, and finally called the Repubs out for saying NO to recovery.
What a hypocrite. He certainly wasn't "begging" for GOP input when the Democrats locked Republicans out of the room and negotiated their sweetheart deals for lobbyists and liberal agenda items.
Let's see the Democrats are going to have to work with a house rethug from Iowa whose idea of change to our immigration laws is to build a fence then add another 13' piece on top (which" can be taken down once the economy of Mexico recuperates") then put barbed wire on the top and electrify said wire. He also says that for every illegal who becomes a citizen a liberal must be thrown out of the country and people should be branded if they break the immigration law, whatever that or who that mean. Darn it, I don't know how much world history people remember but that really and truly reminds me of nazi Germany when people had to walk around with arm bands letting others know if you were Jewish, gay, handicapped, etc. Yes, US this is whatsome of you voted for yesterday!!