It's only three days into the federal government shutdown, and Senate majority leader Harry Reid is already showing signs of stress. That was especially apparent on Wednesday, when he was asked by Cable News Network reporter Dana Bash if the Senate would vote to pass a resolution if it was already approved by the House to restore funding for the National Institutes of Health, which among other things, does pediatric cancer research.
The Nevada Democrat responded angrily that the CNN journalist was “irresponsible” and “reckless” for questioning whether he would put politics over helping “one child who has cancer” and is receiving treatment through the NIH.
“You all talked about children with cancer unable to go to clinical trials,” Bash began. “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?”
Reid referred to fellow senate Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois and Chuck Schumer of New York while firing back with both guns blazing:
Listen, Senator Durbin explained that very well, and he did it on the floor earlier. As did Senator Schumer. 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,” Reid growled. “You talk about reckless and irresponsible,” he continued.
“Wow. What this is all about is ObamaCare,” he snarled. He then accused the reporters of being “obsessed. I don’t know what other word I can use. They’re obsessed with this ObamaCare.”
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.
Bash then asked: “But if you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?”
Reid's response was loaded with venom:
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. This is -- to have someone of your intelligence suggest such a thing maybe means you’re irresponsible and reckless.
“I’m just asking a question,” Bash replied.
It didn't take long for posters at the Twitter social media website to come out swinging.
"Harry Reid just came out against helping kids with cancer and insulted Dana Bash in the process," @hughhewitt stated before calling the incident the "meltdown of the day."
He added: “Whatever happened to 'if it saves just one life'?”
The GOP “needs to walk away,” posted @bethnayshondark. “Walk far away and let the Vets Memorial & Harry Reid Cancer Clip marinate for a good two days.”
Speaking of Republicans, @Tark31 had the opposite advice for Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee: “what are you gonna do about @senatorreid saying he's okay with a kid dying from cancer if it meant keeping govt shut down?”
@whitneypitcher referred to a favorite project of the Nevada Democrat when he posted: “Harry Reid: Funding for cowboy poetry, but not for childhood cancer research.”
Then @laurenmarie10 chimed in by stating that “Harry Reid further bewormed himself today, if that is even possible, with his cancer comment.”
“Harry Reid would rather not bend on 'piecemeal' GOP efforts to fund cancer research?” asked @TimmArtus. “Seriously? He won't even compromise on life and death?”
“Harry Reid to kids with cancer: 'Drop dead',” @TheAmishDude interjected. “Or am I overstating this?”
The Senate Democrat had at least one defender: @guypbenson, who saw the incident in a different light: “Reid: Forget the cancer kids, and shame on you, Dana.”
The staff at twitchy.com called the senator's remarks “unbelievable” and asserted that Reid “poses a legitimate threat to Americans’ well-being -- and he’s proud of it.”
As NewsBusters reported last week, Reid isn't the only top Democrat who doesn't like being asked tough questions.
During a rally in Largo, Maryland, president Barack Obama took a gratuitous swipe at the Fox News Channel, telling people not to believe those who watch its programs and instead go to the official ObamaCare website, which has been riddled with “glitches” and “errors” since its debut on Tuesday.
Perhaps the most interesting response to the senator's comments came from @jpodhoretz, who stated that “Harry Reid, who is unquestionably very canny, apparently also has the Emotional Intelligence of a carrot. In other circumstances, like if he were a Republican, Harry Reid's cancer quote would be the key sound bite of 2013.”
When you're right, you're right. And @jpodhoretz is definitely right.