Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on FNC's 'Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

Harry Reid Slams 'Tit for Tat' Media: Press Should Just Blame GOP for Washington Dysfunction

During an interview with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, NBC political director Chuck Todd challenged Reid's suggestion that Republicans were solely to blame for legislation not getting through Congress: "You don't believe Democrats play any role in this? It feels like a tit-for-tat game....you don't belief there's any tit-for-tat going on here?" [Listen to the audio]

Reid launched into a rant against supposedly unfair media coverage: "One of the problems that the press has in modern-day journalism is everything you do is a tit for tat. You won't call things the way they actually exist. What has happened here is the Republicans have stopped everything from happening....So, you can give me the tit for tat all you want, but the fact is we want to legislate. We want to legislate, we want to take votes."

Rather than pushing back on that assertion, Todd invited Reid pass judgment on the GOP: "How much of the Republican conference do you think wants to legislate and how much of them do you think they don't want? There's some argument that say legislation equals more government and so they don't want it."

Reid condescendingly replied:

I think that there are a number of Republicans – you know, the Republican Party in the congress, not in the country, but the Republican Party in the congress has lost the middle. There is no middle anymore. You remember, even when – during Obama's first term, which was really a congress where we got more done than any in the history of the country of any congress, but I didn't have many Republicans to work with then. Olympia Snowe, she left. Arlen Specter died. Susan Collins is still here, bless her heart. But you know, there are some we can work with. Lamar Alexander tries. Rob Portman is a kind-hearted man, he tries.

Here is a portion of the May 8 exchange:

9:08 AM ET

(...)

CHUCK TODD: Let me ask you just – and I want to get to some actual issues – but this whole process of the Senate, at least for me it's interesting, I know for some folks. And that is this idea that both – there's a bipartisan criticism of you and [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell [R-KY] in this respect, and actually, frankly, it's somewhat also of Boehner and Pelosi, that the leadership over the last, say, three or four congresses has taken too much control of the legislative process, and committee chairs and ranking members don't have the same influence and power to do things on their own, even in bipartisan ways.

And I've – you know, you hear the grumblings and they never put their names to it, but it'll be private grumblings, sometimes it's from Democratic committee chairmen, sometimes it's from Republican ranking members, that they're being told by leadership they can't cut deals on their own. What do you say to that criticism?

HARRY REID: I love deal-cutters. I mean, I have a number of them in my caucus and I tease them about them being my meddlers-in-chief. Tom Carper, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Mary Landrieu. I want them to work. And remember what I did what I became the leader, I strengthened the committee system. We have not had a single task force since I've been the leader because I have strengthened the committee system.

The problem is, you have a committee like the Judiciary Committee that puts out lots of stuff. It can't move on the floor. The Energy Committee, Dr. [Senator Tom] Coburn [R-OK] himself has held up hundreds of things. Hundreds of things. And the Republicans over here won't buck him.

TODD: You don't believe Democrats play any role in this? It feels like a tit for tat game. Felling the amendment tree here and all this stuff, and I don't mean to use these process words, but there's no – you don't belief there's any tit for tat going on here?

REID: One of the problems that the press has in modern-day journalism is everything you do is a tit for tat. You won't call things the way they actually exist. What has happened here is the Republicans have stopped everything from happening. And there's no question that that meeting took place, that was the agreement made, they know who was there, they know what has happened since then. So, you can give me the tit for tat all you want, but the fact is we want to legislate. We want to legislate, we want to take votes.

TODD: Do you believe they – how many – do you believe – how much of the Republican conference do you think wants to legislate and how much of them do you think they don't want?

REID: Oh, I-

TODD: There's some argument that say legislation equals more government and so they don't want it.  

REID: I think that there are a number of Republicans – you know, the Republican Party in the congress, not in the country, but the Republican Party in the congress has lost the middle. There is no middle anymore. You remember, even when – during Obama's first term, which was really a congress where we got more done than any in the history of the country of any congress, but I didn't have many Republicans to work with then. Olympia Snowe, she left. Arlen Specter died. Susan Collins is still here, bless her heart. But you know, there are some we can work with. Lamar Alexander tries. Rob Portman is a kind-hearted man, he tries.

(...)

— Kyle Drennen is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.