President Barack Obama told Democratic donors Monday night that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has helped him “deal with the crazies.”
“It’s hard for me to express how much I love Harry Reid, but it’s easier to do it in a room of people who love Harry Reid,” Obama said at the fundraiser, according to the official White House transcript. “Harry and I drove over here together and we were doing a little reminiscing, and then figuring out how we’re going to deal with the crazies in terms of managing some problems. And then we talked about riding off into the sunset together. Everything I’ve accomplished, I’ve accomplished because Harry Reid was there by my side. And I am forever grateful for his friendship and his strength, because the thing about Harry is he’s a great politician but he’s also a man with a lot of backbone and is willing to do hard things when it’s required, and that’s what you want out of a political leader.”
Reid announced his support for the Iran nuclear deal over the weekend, and a Politico story about Obama’s remarks was headlined, “Barack Obama calls opponents of Iran deal, ‘the crazies.” From the White House press pool report and official transcript, however, it is not entirely clear whether Obama was referring directly to opponents of the Iran deal. The White House did not immediately respond to inquiries from TheBlaze early Tuesday.
Obama has said Republicans who oppose the deal share “common cause” with Iranian hardliners who chant “death to America” and wish to maintain the status quo. He later attempted to walk back the characterization.
Monday night, Obama and Reid spoke at a Las Vegas fundraising event for Catherine Cortez Masto, the Democrat running for the retiring Reid’s seat, and for the Nevada Democratic Party.
Later in the same speech, Obama expressed appreciated for Reid on Iran.
“We’ve been leaders in nonproliferation, which is part of the reason why I am so insistent that Congress not block a historic diplomatic effort when it comes to making sure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon,” Obama said. “And I’m so appreciative of Harry Reid’s support for that effort.”
Just hours before going to the fundraiser, Obama praised Reid specifically for his support of the Iran deal during his remarks at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas.
“I want to thank my dear friend, your outstanding senator, Harry Reid for holding this summit and for keeping us focused on this challenge,” Obama said. “I want to thank him by the way for his strong statement over the weekend for a deal that is going to make sure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon. That’s a top priority of my administration.”
After the energy summit, Obama and Reid rode together to the fundraiser, attended by approximately 100 people with contributions ranging up to $33,400. The event raised more than $300,000.
This post has been updated with Obama’s full quote according to the official White House transcript.