Turns out Harry Reid was only joking when he told a media exec last week that he hoped the biggest paper in his state would “go out of business.”
Over the weekend, Sherman Frederick, a columnist with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, reported that Reid made the comment to another higher-up at the 175,000-circulation daily during a Chamber of Commerce event last Wednesday.
“Such behavior cannot go unchallenged,” wrote Frederick, CEO of the paper’s parent company.
After 24 hours of silence on the comment, a Reid spokesman got back to POLITICO on Monday to say it was all a misunderstanding blown out of proportion by a paper with an anti-Reid bent.
“Clearly he wasn’t serious,” Reid aide Jon Summers wrote in an e-mail to my colleague Marty Kady. “Once again, the editors at the Review-Journal got it wrong.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee wasn’t buying. “It’s out-of-touch comments like this that make clear why his approval numbers are among the lowest of any senator in either party,” said NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh.
Reid has a 37 percent favorable rating, according to a recent Mason-Dixon poll.
I’ll Repeal Health Reforms, Barton Predicts
Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton, ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, sees the following chain of events vis-à-vis health care reform:
1. Dems pass bill.
2. Moderate Dems are slaughtered in 2010 midterms.
3. Dems lose House.
4. New GOP majority repeals law.
“If they somehow manage to get the votes and get enough Democrats to walk the plank and commit suicide, I’m the next chairman and I’ll repeal it,” the Arlington, Texas, Republican told Fox.
Obama-Friendly Cao Slaps POTUS In Letter
Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-La.), the Vietnamese-American incumbent running in an overwhelmingly Democratic New Orleans-area district, has been making overtures to President Barack Obama of late — saying he’s open to backing some kind of health care reform bill and asking the president for an Oval Office sit-down.
That’s not bad politics, considering Obama took two-thirds of the vote in his district last year.
But Cao’s tone is markedly different in his private correspondence to Republican supporters. A Cao fundraising mailer I received blasts the press for fawning over Obama and calls for a conservative counterattack against many of the administration’s policies.
“[The] mainstream media has been too busy gushing over Barack Obama and talking about how the pro-family, pro-national-security and pro-economic-growth agenda of conservatives like you and me is all but dead,” he wrote.
Cao — addressing “dedicated conservatives” — goes on to say he made history by winning in 2008 despite the fact that voters there “gave Barack Obama more than 70 percent of the vote!”
Cao’s relationship with Obama is said to be solid, and he invited first lady Michelle Obama to visit New Orleans before the end of the crawfish season in June 2009. He’s also had sit-downs with Vice President Joe Biden and White House social secretary Desiree Rogers.
“Representative Cao’s bashing of President Obama and his agenda shows what Louisianians have known for a long time: Cao is in the pocket of the Republican Party of No,” said Jessica Santillo, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
GOP Ad Links Bright to Pelosi
The National Republican Congressional Committee is running a radio ad in Montgomery, Ala., and the Wiregrass region linking Rep. Bobby Bright, the conservative rookie Dem who represents the south-central part of the state, to the L-I-B-E-R-A-L Nancy Pelosi.
The ad criticizes Bright, who has bucked Pelosi on nearly every major vote, for not saying he wouldn’t vote against Pelosi for speaker just as Huntsville Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith recently promised.
In the ad, a good-ol’-boy narrator blasts Bright for voting with the speaker 70 percent of the time, saying, “If Bobby Bright is voting with Pelosi ...” before another voice continues, “... he isn’t voting with us.”
What the ad doesn’t say: Bright’s 70 percent-with-Pelosi record is among the lowest in his party, and, shorn of procedural or pro forma votes, he casts only about half of his ballots with the speaker, according to an analysis by the Montgomery Advertiser.
Moreover, The Hill recently reported that Bright, who barely beat Republican Jay Love last year, voted with the GOP on 13 of 15 key issues.
Still, it underscores Bright’s vulnerability and the GOP’s determination to capture the seat.