Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who recently announced plans to retire, rebutted conservative media speculation on Wednesday that his severe injuries are the result of a run-in with the mob.
On CNBC's "Speakeasy," host John Harwood asked Reid about theories put forth by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and Breitbart News that the injuries Reid sustained at the beginning of this year, including a blow to his right eye, are not, as he has said, the result of an accident involving elastic exercise equipment.
"The last few days, a bunch of people are saying, Reid, he didn't have an exercise accident, he got beat up by the mob," Harwood said.
"It shows the credibility of Rush Limbaugh, he's the guy that got all this started," Reid replied. "Why in the world would I come up with a story that I got hurt in my own bathroom with my wife standing there? How could anyone say anything like that? And I think a lot of people, as I read, they kind of don't like me as a person and I think that's unfortunate."
Doubts within conservative media over Reid's version of events — that he was smacked in the face by an elastic exercise band that broke, causing him to fall down — date back to almost immediately after the New Year's Day incident. John Hinderaker of the conservative Power Line blog speculated on Jan. 6 that Reid "looks like he has been in a fight, and not with an elastic band." He wrote, "[P]erhaps Reid is an unsteady, elderly gentleman with precarious balance, and a snapping band caused him to fall with what seems like extraordinary force. But I doubt it. I think it is questionable whether we are being told the truth about what happened to Harry Reid."
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In Late March, Limbaugh said, "I don't believe for a minute that whatever happened to Harry Reid has anything to do with an exercise machine unless somebody repeatedly threw him into it."
A day after Limbaugh's commentary, the right-leaning Breitbart News website wrote a lengthy story analyzing the floor plan of Reid's Nevada home. "A Breitbart News investigation of Reid's home exercise accident has uncovered facts that appear to discredit Reid's version of the home exercise accident for three very specific reasons," the story said.