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.
Harry is now looking for input?? Must suck to be a tired old man who is out of touch with the people. The only reason he won is because the casinos had their union workers strong armed into going to vote for him. They told the hispanics that if Angle was elected they would loose their jobs.
Why is he begging now? He should have been asking("begging") for Republican input over the last 4 years (since Democrats took over majorities in both the House and Senate in 2006).
I am so glad you won, Mr. Reid. Don't worry, John Boehner and his confederates will now have to produce and not just say no. This should be interesting. America has spoken Mr. Boehner and they say they want lower taxes and jobs. Where are the jobs? You've had two years to make a plan. What is it?
Which is the most pathetic? This Clown or the idiots that reelected him.? I never knew the folks in Nevada were so unaware of his damage to the country.
Stop Harry. Join the circus you clown. You've been an arrogant jerk for far too long for anyone to take your complaints serious. Don't confuse a lack of affirmation of the TEA party as a confirmation of you.
What a bafoon. Let's hope that what happened in vegas stays in vegas I don't want this dope anywhere near me.
Get ready, the party of NO is now the party of HELL NO and nothing will get done for the next 2 years. Congressional grid lock. The House Reds will propose it, the Senate will ignore it, and if it gets passed President O will veto it. We will look back on 2009 and 2010 as the "good ol' days" especially after racist Rand causes the U.S.A to default on it's debt by not raising the debt ceiling because it is against his Libertarian principles as stated in his victory speech last night and confirmed by DeMint in this article.
That little twisted bit of logic will cause the Fed to default on the debt and that assures a world wide depression, all because one man can filibuster and shut down the Senate. We are expected to hit the new ceiling as early as March and as late as June, so not only will he shut down not only this country but the world due to his "tea bagger" principles.
You folks remember you voted for this upcoming nightmare, so no whining when the unemployment is 25% overnight.
Remember, you got exactly what you wished for by giving the neo-cons a second chance to destroy American.
This time they will not fail.
Harry, don't expect them to change their evil ways now that the voters had the "no smarts' to vote them back into partial power! No, co-operation, No regulations for Big Oil, Big Business or Big Wall Street, No back down from the Hawks on our wars, No to health care that gives 35,000,000,000 uninsured health insurance, No to keeping taxes high for the top 5%, just more No, NO, NO's. I still hate republicans!
Yes!! How dare the GOP not just bend over and take it from the Democrats like they should have done!! How dare they question what's best and say NO to the HORRID leadership of Reid, Pelosi, and Mr. Obama. Obviously I am not the only person who thinks the Democrats have done a lousy job Harry, not the other way around.
What a STUPID and childish statement for him to make...
What a joke? Reid is like every other Washington politician. He has no desire to work across the aisle. Him and his cronies have controlled the Senate for four years and shut the opposition party out of the discussion the entire time. Does he think we are stupid to believe he wants Republican input? The answer is yes, he thinks we are stupid.
The Republicans didn't "obstruct" something wonderful, they successfully resisted something disastrous – and the voters have spoken in support of what they did. Harry, snap out of your delusions, America has spoken and doesn't want the load you are still trying to sell. It's OVER and common sense is back in the land.
I remember Obamas promise to let CNN broadcast live the debate on the Health Care bill. I well remember the reality of Reid and Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats meeting behind closed doors and telling the Republicans that they were not welcome. So much for bipartisan efforts. so much for give us your input. Now he says he is begging for that input? Somehow I don't quite believe him. The Dems said NO we don't want you in our closed door meetings, NO we don't want your input on health care, NO we don't want to compromise on this bill, NO we don"t want any of your proposed amendments to the bill. Who is the Party of NO?
Begging for input? He wouldn't let them put their foot in the back rooms where they did their bribing to get the health care bill wrapped up and ready to shove down our throats. The GOP better make sure that bill is repealed lock, stock and barrel, NO deals!!!!
Harry, YOU SHOULD jump through hoops when passing legislation especially when it takes freedoms away. You ask for input, but when you get it you call it obstruction? How much of an elitist can one be?
I agree with Reid concerning the media. They do very poor reporting....spin, take things out of context, and don't report everything about the candidates. They also state their opinion which they should not be doing. We the people have a right to make up our own minds. The media should not be doing the deciding for us. Once and for all...DO YOU REALIZE THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE EVERYTHING THEY SEE AND HEAR ON TV? or is that what you are counting on. The first amendment was written before there was TV or radio so using that is a cop-out!!!
Translation: "If the GOP would have just seen it our way, and agreed with everything we suggested, we could have worked with them. We would value their input as long as it was those 6 magic words 'yes Harry, I believe you're right." Who are you trying to kid, Harry? You never did try to work with Republicans. Obama never met with Senat Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the last 2 years, but has called him twice since the political bloodbath? Now they want to sound like they wanted the input all along. Hogwash.
I agree with you Senator Reid, you right every things Republican say "NO" that is why they are the Party of big "NO" and it still stand for "NO" even their take the House but still "NO" of "NO".
All the pasty high spending white repugs are gone, fired. The new breed have arrived, time to take a chain saw to the budget!!
He wasn't begging for input from the Republicans last year when Obama told them to sit down, shut up and get to the back of the bus, was he? Hmmmm. I wonder what has changed.
Harry Reid is living in an underground cave. He is completely tuned out of anything that slightly represents conservative values. He has no clue, even after a landslide elections of the Republicans that took place yesterday. Sorry, you have lost all your backdoor deals with corruption at it's highest.
I think this is the best thing that happened to us Republicans all night. We got the house but left the Senate to the King of whats wrong with Washington – Harry Reid. Between Hope and Change and Mr early Senility we should be all right.
Hateful Harry Reid bribes the Unions to vote for him, and barely wins his reelection. I can't imagine a state with a 14% unemployment rate reelecting a guy like Reid who is a down right nasty person. Her he and his Party lost more seats then any Party has in over 50 years, and he is still arogant as hell, just like Obama. I'm sorry, but if he wants Round II, then we'll just wipe the DNC off the face of the earth in 2012. Obama is like a man who has comitted a Cardinal Sin, then goes to Confession, and the Preist asks him are you repentful about your sins, and are you going to pray to God not to make those Sins again? Then, Obama would look at the Preist, and say "Well the Sin was there, so I shouldn't be blamed for it Right? Reid does not strike me as your typical All American Conservative Values Morrman.I will be dancing in the streets when he is out of office.
I don't think Reid's going to see much love from Republicans.
This is the same republican leadership that followed Bush unquestioningly, even making excuses for him, and ruined our country. This is the same republican leadership that kept opposing everything Obama compromised for them, even the very tax cuts for small businesses they proposed in the first place.
Are you so naive to think anything will be different?
Oh, and memo to republicans: Obama's approval rating is STILL way higher than yours!
Reid has been lying to the American people for 2 years. They passed obamacare without reading it. Reid, obama and pelosi will go down as the biggest con operators of 2010. Thank goodness obama is a one term president.