While campaigning in Nevada Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told an audience of mostly Hispanic voters: "I don't know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, okay. Do I need to say more?" Watch the video here:
Reid's racially-charged comments come as the Nevada Democrat is trying to boost Hispanic turnout in his bid for reelection this November. Polls show, however, that Reid's positions on immigration are very unpopular with Nevada voters in general. Reid supports the Obama administration's lawsuit against Arizona over its immigration law, but 63 percent of Nevada voters oppose the lawsuit, according to a Rasmussen poll.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Reid leading Republican Sharron Angle by 2 percentage points. The Angle campaign has not yet officially responded to Reid's remark, but an Angle staffer wrote on Twitter that Reid made an "idiotic" statement.
Update (11:35 p.m.): A statement from Sharron Angle's deputy campaign manager Jordan Gehrke:
"Reid has said he'll do more if re-elected--apparently that means more insensitive racial comments, more gaffes, more lame attempts to distract from what he has done to destroy the Nevada economy. With that said, I suppose Nevadans should just be glad he didn't say anything racist about Hispanic people's skin tone or 'dialect' this time."
The last line is a reference to Reid's comment that Barack Obama does not have a "negro dialect." Reid apologized to Obama when his remark was published in a book in January of this year.
Update (12:32 a.m.): Karl reminds us that Harry Reid voted for a "poison pill" amendment that killed that the 2007 immigration bill:
Hispanic voters — and everyone else — ought to note that Harry Reid was a key vote in killing “comprehensive immigration reform” in 2007. So the answer to Reid’s question is “yes” — he does need to say a bit more, if only to explain why he put the interest of Big Labor ahead of “comprehensive immigration reform.”
Update (8:49 a.m.): A number of readers note that Reid's son, Rory Reid, is trailing Republican Brian Sandoval, who happens to be Hispanic, badly in the Nevada governor's race.
Marco Rubio, a Republican Senate candidate in Florida and the son of Cuban exiles, tells Fox News that Reid's comments are "outrageous." Watch Rubio here: