Report: Reid, staff let down their guard

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and his well-regarded senior communications advisor let down their guard in granting an interview back in 2008 to the journalists who later reported the senator’s remarks that got him in hot water over the weekend, according to a piece in Politico this morning.

Jim Manley,  Reid’s chief spokesman and a longtime Capitol Hill insider, had a "long and warm relationship "with Mark Halperin of Time magazine, one of the writers, and assumed the senator’s quote about Barack Obama’s skin color "would never be made public — at least without his knowing it first," Politico reported.

In the furor that erupted late Friday when the comment was posted to a Web site, Reid’s staff scrambled to respond, and in calls to fellow Democrats Reid "made it clear he felt burned by the authors."

The paper says Halperin and co-author John Heilemann of New York Magazine disputed Reid had been burned but did not specifically discuss their arrangement on attribution.

"There’s no one we talked to for the book who we burned in any way, or violated any agreement with," Halperin was quoted as telling MSNBC.

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