Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Friday laughed off Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) recent attempt to claim credit for economic growth, arguing that Democratic policies helped the recovery despite overwhelming Republican obstruction since the beginning of the Obama presidency.
"If [Republicans] had cooperated with us even a little bit, the economy would have been even stronger than it is now," Reid said on NPR, his first public interview since an exercise accident left the Nevada Democrat bedridden with broken bones in the face as well as several broken ribs. "Think where the economy would be, if we didn't have programs like Cash for Clunkers and the bailout of Detroit," Reid said, referring to parts to the stimulus legislation passed early in the recession.
Reid further cited Wall Street reform legislation known as Dodd-Frank, the health insurance reform effort under the Affordable Care Act, FDA regulation of tobacco, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, as just a few Democratic successes in the past six years that have contributed to a growing economic recovery -- highlighted Friday by the latest employment reports showing 252,000 jobs gained in the month of December. He argued that Republicans had actually hurt the economy by blocking student loan reform and hikes in the minimum wage.
"We've done well with the economy. Is it perfect? Not a chance. We have ways to go," Reid added.
Reid said that his doctors were "very hopeful" of being able to restore sight to his right eye, but there was a chance they might not succeed due to large blood accumulation sustained when an exercise band snapped and struck him in the face.
"As long as blood is in the eye, it's hard to see," Reid said, noting that he was under orders "not to be reading a bunch of emails."
The recovery process will keep him from attending the Democratic retreat next week, Reid said, but the incident has not changed his mind from running for re-election in 2016.
Reid, who is 75, boasted that he could do 250 push-ups before his injury, and that his routine also included 250 sit-ups three days a week. "No one has to question my physical ability," he said.