November 3rd, 2010
07:39 PM ET
3 years ago

Reid is 'begging' for Republican input; criticizes GOP and the media

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.


Filed under: 2010 • Harry Reid • Nevada • Sharron Angle
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Marry

    Dear Senator Reid, dear Nevada, congratulation on winning! Thank you for voting for Sanity! But – Senator – it is important to do a few things different. The communication with your constituents has to improve a lot. As they say: the Republicans sell bad things very good and the Democrats sell very good things bad. This has to change! When misinformation spreads like a cancer, you have to work quick and with passion to put the correct information forward! Elections based on misinforming the public are cheating the public out of their vote!

    November 4, 2010 04:17 am at 4:17 am |
  2. sky

    No more politics. lets get to the economy. 1st things 1st for all the voter who call them self Independents, begin a Independent means self-reliance commited to no party. Don't hide behind the Independent code and vote for the same. I thought we was pass all that. I was the frist person to send CNN a message saying that the Independents will get Obama elected tell CNN to fact check that. I see through the Republican- Tea Party and they will not fix the economy. There will be fighting amoung the Tea Party and the Republican party because they wanna take the country in different directions. Leaving Pres. Obama caught up in the middle while trying to fix the economy and reach the goal getting back to course witch is Solor, electric, natral gas and moving off OIL. Independents don't vote for crazies we see through crazy. Crazy is spending 140 million and don't win, could have put it to our national debt. Millions and Billions on ads for T.V could have went toward our debt. Health Care for all Americans, S.S for all elders who have paid into it. I just recived a call from the Republican Party saying he didn't care about getting S.S when he gets older. What is he saying he's going to be rich all his life and that he's not going to need any help in his life. When we saw with 911 and this economy that life has it's ups and downs. INDEPENDENT 4 LIFE Sky

    November 4, 2010 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  3. willie flpyd

    Does anyone really think the Reps. are going to work with the Dems.? Humble and Republican-2 words that should never be used in the same sentence.

    November 4, 2010 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  4. Tom in Delaware

    Maybe somebody should explain to Harry Reid that changing the locks on the Committee Chamber doors so that Republicans would not be allowed to be part of the political process is not 'begging for Republican input'.

    Hey CNN, you could do some research a run a story on that....that would be called 'reporting the news' instead of the regular garbage you spew.

    November 4, 2010 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  5. Richard

    So now we want compromise, collaboration, and consensus.

    November 4, 2010 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  6. Angus McDugan

    Right from the Obama playbook, it's someone else's fault. Why didn't he throw Bush in there as well?

    November 4, 2010 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  7. demsouth

    Is it safe to say Florida jus' received our Hurricane Rubio and Bondi please watch over us President Obama!

    November 4, 2010 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  8. Dave

    The GOP had many chances to offer input and work with the Dems and all they did was obstruct and spew their socialist crap in the media. Does anyone think it will be different tis time around? It won't. Republicans are far too self-centered and dumb to get anything accomplished. Unfortunately, the memory of the general public is far too short.

    November 4, 2010 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  9. TeeParti

    He's right: every time CNN asks the Republicans for specifics, they get a deer in the headlights look.

    November 4, 2010 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  10. glib lib

    Smartest thing he's said in 2 years. Although, I think it's falling on deaf ears though. Repub's will work with no one. Which is exactly what republican an tea party voter's want. The weird thing is that the American people say they want Washington to comprimise and work with the opposing party but when they vote they elect even more bombastic partisian candidates. Saying one thing and doing another, the American way.

    November 4, 2010 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  11. Blutarski

    Reid complains that Republicans have been obstructing much of the legislation?????We Democrats have had control of Congress since 2006, and have held a monopoly of power since 2008, how are the Repbulicans obstructing us?Oh yeah, moderate Democrats in our very own party refused to go along with Reid/Pelosi's whacky liberal agenda. I guess Reid considers them Republicans now. It's your fault Reid/Pelosi that moderate Democrats like myself feel abandoned by our very own party. It's your fault, not Obama's, that the Republicans now control the House.

    November 4, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  12. MEC

    Since the people of Nevada are so stupid as to re-elect an idiot that represents a state with the highest unemployment and business loss in the nation ever recorded, then screw them all. The new republican-controlled House should deny all future government monies to Nevada and defund any present federal supported/paid programs, jobs, fundings, etc.

    November 4, 2010 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  13. New Age Independant

    "Begging for Republican Input"? Yeah, right, and I have some swampland I'd like to sell you. He like Obama are only interested in forcing their liberal agenda down our throats regardless of the costs.

    November 4, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  14. John

    Reid, you sure talk different now than before elections.... You compromise, solicit inputs, cooperate,? HAHAHAHAHA! Nevada may have made a big mistake with putting your sorry butt back in office but the rest of the nation has watched you dealings and know you you for what you are..... one sorry-ass person.

    November 4, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  15. Rick in OP

    "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".

    Harry,
    The reason your party just got obliterated in Tuesday's election was precisely because of the Democrats legislative agenda.

    November 4, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  16. Ben in Texas

    Mitch "the twitch" McConnell has stated categorically that his Number 1 priority is to defeat President Obama in 2012. Why is Reid pussyfooting around with the GOP? He should state categorically that his Number 1 priority is to regain the House and re-elect President Obama in 2012. That's only fair. the Dems always lose when they sell out their principles and cave in to the Repugnants.

    As the country has crept to the right, it has gone downhill. Remember how good things were under Clinton, and how bad they got under mini-Bush? With the teabaggers in Congress now, we will undoubtedly fall off the edge. We need strong progressive leaders now, not spineless sell-outs like Reid. The Dems control the White House and the Senate. Why are they even talking to the Repugnants, who make no secret of their intent to run the country into the ground, to the benefit of the rich only?

    November 4, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  17. Cosmo

    "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."
    Can't wait to see all of the great plans the GOP has for solving the huge problems of this country that the Democrats have been wrestling with the last two years while the minority party did nothing except say no and position themselves for this elcletion. So GOP, you have eighteen months to solve all our problems or you will be shown the door (again).

    November 4, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  18. Lori in St Pete

    Okay rethugliban, you've been called onto the carpet. You spent the last two years obstructing EVERYTHING and accusing President Obama & the Dems for partisanship while they were doing nothing but bending over backward to appease you following your huge losses in 2008. That's called projection. Well, ya got the house, so it's time to man up, put on your big boy pants and do the right thing. Take the high road and prove that you CAN work with the other side of the aisle without the "my way or the highway" attitude you've displayed for the last two years. Also remember, you only have the house – the Dems still have the WH & Senate for the next two years, and I sure hope the incoming senate has more cajones than the previous one and screams right back in your faces. So what's it gonna be – are you going to continue to play games and throw out roadblocks or are you going to act like the adults you're supposed to be?

    November 4, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  19. slavedriver

    Thanks Nevada for giving us back dirty Harry. You should be proud. No wonder your state is so bad off. I guess you want the rest of the country in the same toilet bowl. Well No Thaank you.

    November 4, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. Gale

    Pelosi is done, you're next!

    November 4, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  21. CJG

    Thank goodness the people of the fine state of Nevada decided that a bird in the hand etc , what they could have gotten with Angle was not in the best interest of that great state.
    NOW hopfully the party of NO ( that went after Obama to see that he would fail ) almost got their way , will become a Party of YES and try to work with the Dems and with Obama. Nothing happens overnight as they will soon see , except when Buhs decided to get us into Irag that caused this economy debacle in the first place! And that they have refused to help fix it , but now they will have to won't they?
    We will see , but just to make blanket statements that everyone wants a repleal of the watered down HC reform , so not true.! It is a shame that seniors like myself and anyone who care about having affordable HC for all , did not listen to these Tea Party canidates , that want to repeal things like Medicare and SS also! Rich folks can afford to privatize these benefits and live off dividends , with all the tax breaks and loop hoies they should be able to afford the good life well into the senior years , but that is 5% of America ! So we need to be very very careful what these ultra radical right wingers will do to our future . The only thing they can see is the debt that is building and most under the Bush yrs .But cutting some benefits would do more harm than good!

    November 4, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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