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December 15, 2018

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Harry Reid talks surgery, Keystone pipeline and deflated footballs

Harry Reid

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, 75, talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, for the first time since he suffered an eye injury and broken ribs on New Year’s Day accident while exercising at his home in Henderson.

WASHINGTON — Wearing an eye patch, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid pointed to his brow bone and explained how doctors will reconstruct the bones around his right eye in an effort to restore his vision.

Reid, set to undergo surgery Monday, said today that doctors will also drain blood that pooled around the eye after a New Year’s Day exercise accident at his home in Henderson.

“They’re confident I’ll be really quite good after that,” Reid said during a press conference — his first since the accident — in his office just off the Senate floor.

Reid, 75, also repeated several times that he intends to run for a sixth term in 2016 and that the accident hasn’t changed his plans.

“At this stage, I’m fully intending to run,” he said.

The Nevada Democrat fell when an exercise resistance band snapped and hit him in the face, throwing him into a set of cabinets. He broke multiple bones near his right eye, four ribs and suffered a concussion.

“It didn’t knock me out, but it sure hurt,” he said.

Reid has been working from his apartment in Washington, D.C., since the new Congress started Jan. 6. He told KNPR earlier this month that regaining the vision in his right eye “isn’t a slam dunk.”

Reid said he is looking forward to having his surgery and that doctors have told him he could be back at work within a week.

He said his broken ribs are healing well, and that he takes Tylenol occasionally to manage pain.

Reid said doctors have advised him to avoid reading so he doesn’t strain his left eye, which has 20-20 vision.

He’s been holding telephone and in-person meetings with staff and Democratic Senate leadership. He said his leadership team has done a good job without him on the floor.

He said Republicans’ focus on trying to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which President Barack Obama has threatened to veto, is a waste of time because it’s not helping the middle class.

Republicans say the pipeline will create jobs.

Reid also fielded questions about House Republicans inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress next month, in light of America’s nuclear negotiations with Iran. The White House has said it’s a breach of protocol for members of Congress to invite a state leader to Washington.

Reid said he wasn’t consulted about the decision to invite Netanyahu, whom he called a friend. He said Netanyahu called him after his accident to wish him well.

Reid, a sports fan, also addressed the National Football League’s investigation into how and why the New England Patriots used deflated footballs in their AFC Championship win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

“I can’t believe the National Football League, with the billions of dollars it makes, couldn’t at least determine how much air should be in a football,” he said. “Why it should be left up to the teams.”

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