From NBC's Ken Strickland
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid once again found himself on the defensive after calling the outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace "incompetent" during a recent conference call interview with liberal bloggers. His comments were first reported by The Politico and confirmed by NBC News. Earlier this year Reid was criticized after saying "the war is lost."At an on-camera news conference this afternoon on energy, Reid was showered with questions about the "incompetent" statement. Reid refused to repeat it, but also didn't deny he said it. "I'm not going to get into it, what I said or didn't say," he calmly told reporters, suggesting Pace's failure to be renominated to his position by Secretary of Defense Gates spoke for itself. "There's a long line of people who've indicated in various ways that General Pace was not the person to be the chairman on the Joint Chiefs. That's why name was pulled." Reid said in a private meeting with Pace he told him, "that he had not done a very good job... I told him that to his face."
Then more questions came from reporters trying to nail down the "incompetent" comment. "I think we should just drop it. The fact is he's not going to be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs for which I'm happy," Reid said.
Obviously, some Republican senators weren't happy with Reid. Former Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner went out of his way to give reporters his thoughts. "I respectfully but very strongly disagree," Warner said. Republican Jim Bunning was more direct in his written statement: "The fact that Democrat Leader Reid would stoop so low as to insult our top military commanders in an attempt to gain political points with his liberal blogging friends is outrageous... Hurling stones at other politicians is one thing, but throwing them at the people who defend our freedom is another."