Reid Nonchalant About Campaign as First Lady Stumps With Him

Posted June 1, 2010 at 4:53pm

RENO, Nev. — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that the last thing on his mind is his embattled campaign for a fifth term.

But even as the Nevada Democrat was declaring to the local media in Reno his nonchalance toward November, his campaign was seeking a boost from two in-state appearances Tuesday with first lady Michelle Obama.

Reid told reporters that far from worrying about which of the 13 Republicans will emerge from the June 8 primary to face him in the general election, he is focused on his wife — who is still recovering from a car accident in March that broke her back and neck — and on the business of the Senate.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do there. We’ve had a very successful Congress, but we have many more things to do,” Reid said. “I can’t just concentrate on the campaign. I’ve got to concentrate on a lot of other things.”

Asked whether that attitude might hurt his bid, Reid said: “I have things I have to do. First, I have to take care of my family. Everyone knows I’ve had a wife that’s been hurt. Second, I have a state to take care of. I have a country to take care of and a campaign to take care of. And they’re in that order.”

Reid made the remarks before introducing Obama to an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 1,600 female activists at the Nevada Women’s Summit, a half-day event that attracted women from across the state.

Obama, who was also scheduled to appear Tuesday afternoon with Reid at an event in Las Vegas to promote outdoor activities for children, told the crowd that Reid is “one of my favorite people in the world.”

She touted his Senate work to pass an equal pay bill, the health care overhaul and domestic violence prevention legislation.

Reid praised the first lady for her work around the country, and he noted that when his wife, Landra, “got hurt, no one reached out to her more than Michelle Obama.”

Reid is facing one of the toughest re-election campaigns of his career, but has seen his previously dismal poll ratings rise slightly in recent weeks as the three top contenders for the GOP Senate nomination take shots at each other and burn through their campaign war chests.