That’s Right, Kick Him While He’s Down

Senator Harry Reid’s seen better days. With his personal approval ratings scraping the basement floor at 19%, and the base of his party at his throat to get some progress in ending the Iraq war over, you would think things couldn’t get worse, right?

Yeah, until you check out the front page headline of the Politico:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “incompetent” during an interview Tuesday with a group of liberal bloggers, a comment that was never reported.

Reid made similar disparaging remarks about Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said several sources familiar with the interview.

Yup, that’s I’m sure the last thing Harry wants is to be caught on record calling military officials incompetent while congressional Dems are trying desperately to balance putting an end to the war while not being painted as anti-military by efficient rightwing spin masters (a group I suppose you could consider Politico apart of as a result of a somewhat rightie slant).

Only, did he really call generals Pace and Patraeus incompetent? According to Greg Sargent writing for TPM Cafe, maybe not. According to bloggers who were actually in on the call and not just “several sources familiar with the interview.”

But more important than the names that Sargent is able to pull out who actually don’t recall the disparaging remark, is this paragraph:

The Politico story, which was written by John Bresnahan, only attributes the claim that Reid disparaged the generals to “several sources familiar with the interview,” without saying whether these sources were on the call. It contains no direct quote of Reid beyond the one word “incompetent.” It goes on to say that Reid “made similar disparaging remarks” about Petraeus, without quoting or paraphrasing any.
Bresnahan declined to comment on the bloggers’ assertions and declined to comment on the question of whether he’d spoken to anyone who was actually on the conference call. Quotes from the bloggers themselves after the jump.

Sources? We don’t need no stinking verifiable sources.

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