Published Monday, Jan. 11, 2010 | 11:34 a.m.
Updated Monday, Jan. 11, 2010 | 4:38 p.m.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was at a power plant on the edge of the Las Vegas Valley this morning to talk about a new transmission line and the jobs it should create, but reporters wanted only to ask about the racial comments controversy that has been swirling around the Nevada Democrat since last week.
CNN and NBC were among the national media at the NV Energy press conference at the Harry Allen Generating Plant near the Great Basin Highway exit off Interstate 15 north of the valley.
Reid stuck to what he has been saying since his comments about President Barack Obama being more electable because of his lighter skin color and lack of a "Negro dialect" exploded public. Reid said his words were poorly chosen and he will not resign because "there is much work to do."
He did not answer questions about the validity of his comments and questions about whether he believed a majority of whites would be less inclined to vote for a darker-skinned black candidate with a dialect. Once when he was asked a question to that effect, his answer was off-subject, and when he was asked again, the question and answer session was ended.
Earlier at the event he had emphasized that he was "very proud of being one of the first to suggest that Barack Obama run for president. I've enjoyed working with him and we have a lot of work left to do."
He had also thanked Nevada's black leaders and national leaders for their support in the wake of the controversy.
Reid, who was already running behind to challengers in recent polls prior to the controversy, appeared collected and showed no obvious signs of stress from the criticism of this remarks and GOP calls for his resignation.
He said he had spent the weekend in his hometown of Searchlight, southwest of Las Vegas, and had spent a lot of time walking in the desert there.