WASHINGTON — Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid displayed a large bandage over his right eye, a determination to seek-re-election and an unimpaired partisan political instinct Thursday at his first news conference since suffering an injury while exercising.
He said he looks forward to surgery to reconstruct the broken bones.
"At this stage I'm fully intending to run" for a new term in 2016, he said at a carefully arranged event in his Capitol suite that coincided with speculation about his political future after the accident that injured his eye and broke several ribs.
Asked if he might change his mind, he said, "I plan to run."
Reid, 75, said next week's surgery is planned to reconstruct a broken bone and drain blood off the back of his eye. He said doctors are "confident that I'll be really quite good after that."
It's been more than three weeks after the injury, and in addition to the eye bandage, Reid has discoloration evidently caused by bruising that runs from the right side of his jaw to his neck.
Reid's staff has worked aggressively since the accident to demonstrate that he has been able to tend to his duties as a Nevada senator and party leader. Aides have released photographs of him meeting with other Democrats at his home and announcing federal money for the state.
As if to show his dual focus, Reid fielded reporters' questions while seated in front of a pair of flags. One was the Stars and Stripes, and the other was from his home state, with the words "Battle Born" visible on a field of blue.
Reid opened the news conference with an attack on Republicans and their demands for changes in President Barack Obama's immigration policy in exchange for providing funding for the Department of Homeland Security.
"The first thing I want to say is this. All we have to do is look around the world — cyberattacks, North Korea, arrests, the deaths in Belgium, in France. And we now are facing the question here in the United States as to whether we're going to fund homeland security? I just think is so out of line."
Reid, who once practiced law, declined to say if he is considering a liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the exercise resistance band that he said caused the accident when it broke as he was using it.
"Let's say if I were, I wouldn't be broadcasting it here," he said.