In honor of Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid’s December 2 birthday, The Daily Caller News Foundation has assembled just a few of the craziest, most insane, looniest things the gentleman from Nevada has shared with us over his decades in office.
Here are 15 of them.
1. In 2008, Reid explained his relief that the Capitol Visitor Center was completed, because he would no longer have to “smell the tourists” on hot days. “My staff has always said, ‘Don’t say this,’ but I’m going to say it again because it’s so descriptive, because it’s true,” he said at the dedication. “In the summertime, because (of) the high humidity and how hot it gets here, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol.”
2. Reid once insulted President George W. Bush’s dog when he was a guest in the Oval Office. Bush had invited Reid for coffee during the final weeks of his presidency. “Your dog is fat,” he told the president, when his dog walked into the room.
3. Following the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in 2014 allowing Hobby Lobby and other for-profit businesses to avoid providing employees certain contraceptives on religious grounds, Reid let it slip that he thinks Justice Clarence Thomas is white. “This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous, and we’re going to do something about it,” Reid told reporters following the ruling. He said the Senate would act to “ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men.” But Thomas, one of the five justices who sided with Hobby Lobby, is black. Whoops.
4. Reid referred to Barack Obama as “light-skinned” and without a “Negro dialect,” in 2008, and said those two factors would help Obama’s then presidential bid. His comments were reported in the book “Game Changer,” in 2010, and he eventually apologized for his remarks. “I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words,” Reid said.
5. Reid cited junk mail as an important service provided by the United States Postal Service while speaking on the Senate floor in 2012, saying elderly people love and rely on junk mail. “I’ll come home and there’ll be some mail there,” he said. “A lot of it is what some people refer to as junk mail. But for the people that are sending that mail, it’s very important. And talking about seniors. Seniors love to get the junk mail. It’s sometimes their only way of communicating or feeling they’re a part of the real world.”
6. After forcing Obamacare through the Senate on Christmas Eve morning without a single Republican vote, Reid said in December 2009 he was not worried about backlash from voters over the holidays. “We’re going to hear an earful, but it’s going to be an earful of wonderment and happiness that people waited for for a long time,” he said on the Senate floor.
7. Reid apologized in 2015 for for making a few offensive and super lame Asian jokes at an Asian Chamber of Commerce event. “I don’t think you’re smarter than everybody else, but you’ve convinced a lot of us you are,” Reid said to a few laughs. Then he quipped, “One problem I’ve had today is keeping my Wongs straight.”
8. In 2014, Reid declared all the Obamacare horror stories ever told untrue, and accused Republicans of using false stories for political gain. “There’s plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they’re being told all over America,” he said on the Senate floor. “We heard about the evils of Obamacare, about the lifes its ruining in Republican stump speeches, and in ads paid for by oil magntes, the Koch brothers,” he added. “But then those tales turned out to be just that. Tales. Stories made up from whole cloth. Lies distorted by Republicans to grab headlines or make political advertisements.”
9. As the healthcare debate was raging in 2009, Reid told a Nevada newspaper Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy’s then recent death would help the Democrats’ cause. “I think [Kennedy] will be a help. He’s an inspiration for us. [Healthcare] was the issue of his life and he didn’t get it done.”
10. Reid called Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand the “hottest” member of the Senate at a 2010 fundraiser for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “We in the Senate refer to Sen. Gillibrand as the hottest member,” he said during his speech to the crowd, just a few feet away from Gillibrand, who was in attendance. She reportedly turned beet red.
11. After carefully shepherding Obamacare through the Senate, Reid blamed the horrendous rollout of Healthcare.gov on old people’s inability to comprehend and use the Internet. “I think the administration should have known how difficult it was going to be to ask 35 million or 40 million people to suddenly hook up to a place to go on the internet,” he said on Nevada Public Radio in 2013, adding: “Okay, if you’re over age 50, the internet is something you’re just learning about.”
12. While campaigning in Nevada in 2010, Reid spoke incredulously of Hispanic Republicans. “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, okay,” he said to an audience full of Hispanic voters. “Do I need to say more?”
13. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Reid accused GOP candidate Mitt Romney of not paying taxes, because Romney hadn’t released his tax returns. “He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years!” he told the Huffington Post. “Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain. But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?” The claim was based on an anonymous source, and turned out to be completely unfounded.
Reid borrowed a then-viral line from a baseball player to deflect an immigration question in 2012, saying “That’s a clown question, bro.” The Nevada baseball player, Bryce Harper, had used the response to deflect a question about a game-winning home run, and his comment went viral. About a week later, a reporter asked Reid a question about immigration, and after a long pause he said, “I don’t want to answer that question. That’s a clown question, bro.”
14. In a 2013 speech at his annual energy conference, Reid referred to town-hall protesters angry about Obamacare as “evil-mongers,” who use “lies, innuendo and rumor” to end debate. He then doubled down on his remarks in an interview with Politics Daily. “It was an original with me. I maybe could have been less descriptive,” he said, then added that “I feel like I haven’t done anything to embarrass them. Except maybe call somebody an evil-monger.”
15. In 2013, Reid declared the Tea Party the new anarchist movement. “You know, some say that’s what started World War I, the anarchy movement — but they were violent. They did damage to property and they did physical damage to people,” he said in an interview on KNPR. “The modern anarchists don’t do that — that’s the tea party,” Reid clarified. “But they have the same philosophy as the early anarchists: They do not believe in government.”
Editor’s note: A similar version of this story appeared in March, 2015. It has been updated to include more loony quotes from the retiring minority leader.
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