A day after saying CNN reporter Dana Bash was "irresponsible and reckless
" for asking him a question about funding cancer research during the government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sat down with Bash to explain his words.
"You know, I am not known for being real articulate," Reid, D-Nev., said in a sitdown interview in his Senate office on Thursday with Bash. "But what I was trying to say is, we can be piecemealing all this stuff."
Democrats have said they won't respond
to Republican offers to fund individual programs such as the National Parks Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Reid was raked over the coals by conservative commentators
for his original comments, made in a press conference Wednesday with other Democrats. And one of the liberal hosts of CNN's "Crossfire," Van Jones, admitted, "It was a good question and a bad answer, I'll give you that. I don't think anyone is going to sit here and say he handled that well."
Bash had asked Reid if Democrats weren't guilty of "playing the same political games that Republicans are" if it refused to pass a House bill to fund the National Institutes of Health.
"But if you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn't you do it?" Bash asked.
"Why would we want to do that?" Reid responded. "I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force Base [in Nevada] that are sitting home. They have a few problems of their own. This is — to have someone of your intelligence to suggest such a thing maybe means you're irresponsible and reckless …"
Town Hall notes
the comment isn't the first time Reid has made what some consider offensive remarks, often aimed at Republicans. He also famously noted at the dedication of the Capitol Visitors Center: "My staff tells me not to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway. In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it's true."
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