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. Scott

    Reid is a poor leader – but Republicans are disgusting.

    They twist everything into a lie. Practically everything!

    They know it's a flat out lie when they twist Reid's words on job losses to make it look like he is happy with people losing their jobs. All the while, they try to prevent anything from happening to improve the situation – so that maybe they can rise again to a "power" role once they've effectively reduced the country to rubble.

    The republican party has made lies, dishonesty, and a race to keep the electorate deceived a priority. With all the wishing for bad things to happen to America – Republicans are bordering on being simply traitorous in their lust for control.

    March 5, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    From Alan Silverleib and Dana Bash

    They make rhymes instead of doing in-depth research. Where are the qualified Journalists???

    March 5, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. gary

    So. He screwed up his presentation of figures. Come on. Why is this news? Bush did it everyday and we got over it. Must be a slow news day.

    March 5, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. Mike in MN

    Obama pretty much said the same thing today saying the new jobs report "is actually better than expected".
    The only sensible way to put is is that is was not as bad as expected. Losing another 36,000 jobs is bad, there is no other way to look at it, especially when they are piled on top of almost 15 millon already unemployeed.
    But Obama is so consumed with looking good, that I suppose he looks at job losses as good as long as it is less than he thought they would be. After all I understand he told the Democrats in a closed door meeting yeaterday that they need to pass health care reform to maintain his presidency. Got to make Obama look good!

    March 5, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. Mark

    Reid's days in the senate are almost done.

    March 5, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    If anyone believes that slowing job losses is all due to an improving economy, there is another more plausible and scarier explanation. Companies have cut pretty much all of the people they can cut and still be in operation. The next cut? Out of business. This is what we are seeing now. Companies folding up shop. This is why the availability of jobs remains low. I see it all over. Companies shutting down locations and companies just plain shutting down. It's not fun to watch.

    March 5, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  7. Molly Weasley

    It was a poor way to say it. But the vast majority of Republicans are still "more out of touch with working Americans" than Harry Reid.

    March 5, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. A True Centrist

    Reid needs to retire...for the good of his party and for the good of his country.

    March 5, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. southerncousin

    He must be taking elocution and diction lessons from Joe Biden. By the way Randoph Carter, they are not taken out of context at all. Most of us have long known that the Senate Majority Leader is an idiot and this just proves the point. Don't blame Republicans because the liberals are idiots.

    March 5, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. MatthewDetroit

    Maybe if Comrade Barack and idiot Reid would spend time on jobs..

    and the economy then we could fix things....

    problem is that after 34 speaches socialist barack is still trying to steal healthcare from Americans....

    Maybe you let the healthcare bill die. because nothing is wrong with it and stop trying to take over the world...

    March 5, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Angelo Giannitelli

    This comment need not be catergorized. This reflects what ultimately will happen to The United States. The furture holds a take-over by China. What a total obomination and a demonstration of the countless lives lost for this countries beliefs and desires., I need to stop before I thrpw up.

    Disgusted Vietnam Veteran!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 5, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. File under "Sarcasm"

    Harry Reid proves every day why he is unfit to lead the Senate majority. He's a scheming, back room politician who couldn't make a go of running a lemonade stand. After he gets beat in November, he can look around for jobs as a blackjack dealer or bellman at one of the Vegas hotels.

    March 5, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. Steve-Illinois

    Randolph Carter- "I'm poor, always have been, always will be,"
    You are absolutely correct! Now read your sentence again, and you'll know why!

    March 5, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. MatthewDetroit

    Randolph.... You should rip on Reid he is the idiot not Rand.

    Rand spoke of the exact socialism that the Democrats of the far left are trying to force upon us.

    Socialist do NOT believe in freedom. They do not believe in individuality. They believe in everyone being FORCED to be and act the same. They do not believe in individual strife or achievement.

    This is AMERICA. WE believe in Freedom.
    REID is an idiot spending all of his time ramming a bad healthcare bill down our throats.
    And he is clueless when it comes to the economy and job creation.

    March 5, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. No Longer Hopeful in America

    As bad as the GOP'ers are, this guy is intent on making them look like an acceptable alternative. DUMP Reid. Dick Durbin should be the Party's spokesman!

    The fundamentals of Reid's ability to be the leader are not strong!

    Spokesmen don't get off by aplogizing for a "poor choice of words" because they become 30 second ads in this world! The Republlicans may be "no-nothings" but Reid makes them look good!

    March 5, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. Helen

    Well, stupid is as stupid does. Reid and Pelosi, are true IDIOTS! Neither one would know the truth even if it jumped up and hit them in the face. Know how you can tell when there lying? There lips are a movin!

    March 5, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. Minnesotan

    I'm soooo sick of Republican hate. I thought we were all 'Americans,' but they seem to keep trying to divide and destroy the country. It's all so pathetic and sad.

    March 5, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  18. one voice

    The Republicans pointing fingers at any current Government Official is a JOKE. 3 million jobs were lost before Obama even took office.

    March 5, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  19. Lisa P

    "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.

    Unless we start talking about Sen. Jim Bunning, of course, or the 19 other out-of-touch-with-reality Republican Senators who voted with him to deny an emergency unemployment benefits extension. Together they make Sen. Reid look like a working Americans insider... not that I would ever expect some out-of-touch Republican spokesperson to acknowledge it.

    March 5, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  20. Edwin

    Only the republicans could seize on Reid's wording, rather than the meaning. I think they forget that the economic crisis came on because of their policies. Maybe they should apologize in person to those 36,000 people...

    March 5, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  21. Edwin

    @Mike in MN,

    You seem obsessed with presentation rather than substance. Let me guess... you are a republican, right?

    March 5, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  22. Most Republicans - Wrong about everything, Wrong for America (and GW Bush was the worst President ever)

    "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.

    Really. As opposed to all the Conservatives in Washington who haven't done anything to create jobs. All they do is hang out waiting for a Dem to make a mistake, so they can "pounce" on him or her. I'm sure that was exactly what they were elected to do.

    March 5, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. Allen in Hartwell GA

    He said "only 36,000", which even his biggest detractor would have to admit is better than 68,000. Come on people, get a grip,,,or a life.
    As for the jobs lost since Obama took office, how many of those were on the way out because Bush and his cronies destroyed the American economy. Yes, I'm blaming Bush again, because it's so easy and it's CORRECT!!!

    March 5, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  24. Get A Life

    Everyone is trying to pounce on everyone elses gaffes.

    If each American takes personal responsibility to be more productive, raise their children to be caring and unselfish future adults, there will be a future for America

    March 5, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  25. Sama Mondeh

    36,000 jobs lost represents a figure that is less than what had been projected by experts. The fact that Senator Reid did not fully articulate his view does not suggest an insensitivity towards unemployed Americans. Obviously, as usual, our Republican brothers/sisters take great delight in politicizing every Democratic faux pas by continuous use of their stale talking points. Mr. Reid is Senator and Majority Leader until the people of the Great State of Nevada decide otherwise.

    March 5, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
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