At a press conference held by Senate Democrats on Wednesday, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested that CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash was “irresponsible and reckless” during an exchange over the funding for cancer research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), adding, “why would we want to” help one child who has cancer while negotiations continue.
Bash pointed out that the House was likely to pass a bill that would provide funding for the NIH, but Reid deflected and argued the House shouldn’t be able “pick and choose” what parts of government are funded.
“You all talked about children with cancer unable to go to clinical trials,” Bash said. “The House is presumably going to pass a bill that funds at least the NIH. Given what you’ve said, will you at least pass that? And if not, aren’t you playing the same political games that Republicans are?
“Listen, Sen. [Dick] Durbin explained that very well, and he did it here, he did it on the floor earlier, as did Sen. Schumer,” Reid replied. “What right did they have to pick and choose what part of government is going to be funded? It’s obvious what’s going on here. You talk about reckless and irresponsible. Wow. What this is all about is Obamacare. They are obsessed. I don’t know what other word I can use. I don’t know what other word I can use. They are obsessed with this Obamacare. It’s working. It’s working now and it will continue to work and people will love it more than they do now by far. So they have no right to pick and choose.”
But that led to a follow-up question from Bash, and a condescending reply from the Senate majority leader.
BASH: But if you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?
REID: Why would we want to do that? I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force base that are sitting home. They have a few problems of their own. To have someone of your intelligence to suggest such a thing maybe means you’re irresponsible and reckless.
BASH: I’m just asking a question.