Reid calls Gillibrand the ‘hottest member’ of the Senate

Holly Bailey
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in the fight of his political life back in Nevada, where he's facing one of the toughest re-election battles in the country. But his curious comments about other Democrats are attracting headlines these days -- with results that aren't exactly flattering to Reid.

On Monday, Reid was speaking at a Manhattan fundraiser thrown on his behalf by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg when he paused to offer an unusual compliment to New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who was in the audience. "Many senators are known for many things," Reid said (according to Politico's Maggie Haberman, who heard it from sources). "We in the Senate refer to Sen. Gillibrand as the hottest member."

Gillibrand, according to Haberman's sources, flushed red, and the comment "created a bit of a stir" among the audience. "It was pretty shocking when he said it," one source tells Politico.

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A Reid spokesman defends his boss, saying the Nevada senator also went on to praise Gillibrand's work in the Senate.

But the comment comes just a week after Reid offered an equally unusual endorsement for Democratic Senate candidate Chris Coons in Delaware, referring to Coons as "my pet." "I'm going to be very honest with you: Chris Coons, everybody knows him in the Democratic caucus. He's my pet. He's my favorite candidate," Reid told the Hill's J. Taylor Rushing.

It's a safe bet that Coons' opponent, GOP nominee Christine O'Donnell, has already filed that comment away for use in an attack ad.

(Photo of Reid: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)