March 5th, 2010
03:35 PM ET
12 years ago

Jobs dip, Reid trips, GOP rips

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" Sen. Reid in hot water over comments."]

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 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

Filed under: Harry Reid
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Bite your Tongue

    Now is not the time to become a gaffe machine Sen. Reid.

    March 5, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. Kevin in Ohio

    Four million jobs lost by Obama...and those are only the ones we really know about. Businesses are not hiring because they are afraid of potential costs like Obamacare and higher payroll taxes will bring. Period. Those of you who think that more government spending of trillions of dollars will help lack any knowledge whatsoever of basic economic principles,

    March 5, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. fair

    He is a joke.

    March 5, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  4. The Independent View

    Score 1 political point for the Republicans .... Reid was simply reporting the news and used a poor choice of words.

    But how much is a political point worth among REAL PEOPLE ..... not a lot I say when the other side has not contributed to any progress what so ever.

    March 5, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. Justen in Florida

    I'm a conservative, and I don't like Reid, but, I know what he ment, and will not comment against him for it, unlike all my liberal rivals here in these forums, who are so quick to jump on a republican when what they say doesn't come out just right.

    March 5, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but....

    Way to take his remarks out of context, GOP. And yet, stupid "Real Americans" will buy it come campaign season. Sigh. I hope the "Real Americans" get what they want, republican control. It'll be hilarious to listen to their whining as the rest of the wealth is stripped from the middle class and their (not there) sons and daughters die for the remaining fossil fuels on the planet. I'm poor, always have been, always will be, and don't have children, so it doesn't bug me. Good luck, "Real Americans." You're (not your) going to need it. Have a nice day!

    March 5, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. Ron Thibodeau

    It's this years version of 'the fundamentals of our economy are strong' statement. ha ha

    March 5, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. gt

    this guy must of been in the sun to long... what a pathedic leader he is ,,, sounds like he would be a good politicain from new york....

    March 5, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but....

    P.S. Ayn Rand was a second-rate romance novelist and a sociopath!

    March 5, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but....

    P.P.S. CNN, I love the headline! Like something out of the NY Post ca. 1980's. Hahaha! Have a nice day!

    March 5, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. j

    Blah Blah Blah... The Republican fear and hate mongering is at it again. Can't they find a REAL issue to talk about. Oh, I forgot, they don't have any solutions so they have nothing but petty sniping to talk about.

    March 5, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. John D

    Democrats have done nothing with all the spending to create jobs. They still do not get it that no one is going to spend anything because they're scared to death about Obamacare. We wasted trillions. Our deficit is 1.2 Trillion more than the Dems predicted. What would make anyone think they would get the cost of healthcare reform right? Are you idiots listening or is it that you just do not care that you are destroying our country.

    They haven't spent the remainder of the stimulus because they plan to use that to secure votes for Obamacare instead of returning it to reduce the deficit. Democrats are CLUELESS!

    March 5, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. gmoran

    Reid is a great representation of the democratic party
    He is out of touch and
    Should be out of office.

    March 5, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. Sgt. Flagg T. McLiberty, Superpatriot

    "P.S. Ayn Rand was a second-rate romance novelist and a sociopath!"
    She also died alone and unloved.

    As for the Reid thing, which is the top story over at FOX "News" and which echoes every single GOP talking point, he really did stick his foot in his mouth,. But you have to be a real hard right raging cynic to think that he actually takes pleasure at seeing that 36,000 people lost their jobs.

    March 5, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  15. BB

    Losing 36,000 jobs in February, is a good thing when you compare it to the losses under Bush and The Republicans...under them we were averaging 750,000 lob losses a month. So being down to only 36,000 is a huge improvment. No one needs a silver tongue to tell the truth!!!

    That's alright Reid ~ Pass Healthcare and then move on to the other 294 bills the Republicans are holding up with Filibuster threats and pass them with a 51 majority before August 2010 and we Democrats will be just fine and all of Obama's Agenda will be just about fulfilled!!!

    Isn't life great???

    March 5, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. mkielm

    "We have thrown down a light burden, which is the reprehending of our own selves, and we have chosen instead to bear a heavy burden, by justifying our own selves and condemning other." – Abbot John

    March 5, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. corie

    gop are forever loosers, what the dems need to do is keep fighting for the poor people and pass that health care bill...

    March 5, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. Jerry

    What Reid said is this:

    I run a clinic and last year 100 people developed cardiovascular disease that hasn't been cured. This year 10 more people developed heart problems. I'm happy that only 110 people are still looking to get well.

    That is wonderful news!!! Harry Reid is a Genius!!!

    March 5, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. Dieter Zerressen

    Since when do Republicans care about any jobs (other than Wall Street or K Street jobs). All these job loses started under Bush – they are just now starting to level off and maybe improve by the end of summer. Thank you, George W – you made your daddy proud!

    March 5, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. John

    Harry Reid is the Best Majority leader we ever had!

    March 5, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  21. Sheena

    Reid needs to take a hike off a high cliff, what illiterate People in the Whitehouse right now, I sure hope A Change is Comin.........
    And Fast.....

    March 5, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. Masters In Economics

    Blame the private industry. They are making a profit and still cutting jobs. They are forcing employees to do more with less.

    March 5, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. billtouch

    The jobs that were lost last year were not lost by Obama. They were lost by 8 years of republican policy that nearly tunneled the economy of the whole world!

    Quit trying to rewrite history Repubs....

    March 5, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. beevee

    Senator Reid better be careful in what he says. While we all know what he meant to say about the job loss situation, he did not word it rightand gave ammunition to his opponents to say that the dems don't care about the still unemployed people in the country. Mr. Reid, please be careful in making public statements. The GOP is waiting to trounce your party.

    March 5, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. Avg Guy in Red State Kansas

    Employment down, people frown, GOP clowns around...

    March 5, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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