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The Reid Run, Part II

6:03 PM, Oct 2, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
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Earlier in the day, I pointed out how Harry Reid's irresponsible not to mention idiotic comment about an unnamed insurance giant that was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy had caused insurance company stocks to stumble on an industry wide basis. At midday, the damage was only half as grave as it would turn out to be. In case anyone is wondering about the extent of the Reid triggered butcher's bill at the end of the day, here's the final carnage:

MET: down 15% or roughly $5 billion
PRU down 11%, or roughly $3 billion
AFL down 7%, or roughly $1.5 billion
TRV down 6% or roughly $1.5 billion

The S&P 500 Insurance Index declined more than 10% - over 25 billion worth of wreckage. But wait - it gets worse. Check out this comment from Senator Reid's office this afternoon:

A spokesman for Reid said on Thursday that the Senator was not personally aware of any particular company being on the verge of bankruptcy, nor had he talked to any insurance company officials.

"Rather, his comments were meant to refer to the conditions in the financial sector generally. He regrets any confusion his comments may have caused," said spokesman Jim Manley.

Oops! Please remember that the Dow as a whole dropped "only" 3%. Please further note that the insurance sector helped lead the market's woes and the Reid-induced jitters had an effect everywhere.

This all reminds me of Ronald Reagan's joke about life's cruelest irony being the phrase, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." It also reminds me of the considerably less famous phrase, "What a big mouth that senator has!"