WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Coburn declined Tuesday to discuss a report that he used an obscenity during a New York speech to describe the majority leader of the U.S. Senate.
According to the New York Daily News, Coburn insulted Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Monday while speaking to the New York Young Republican Club.
In remarks at a fundraiser for the club, Coburn, R-Muskogee, said there were some Democrats he could work with, including New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, the paper reported.
“There's no comity with Harry Reid. I think he's an absolute a** hole,” Coburn said.
Coburn spokesman John Hart said Tuesday, “Dr. Coburn will provide further comment privately with Senator Reid.”
Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Reid, said, “Nothing says ‘comity' like childish playground name-calling, especially from a senator who has not sponsored a single piece of successful bipartisan legislation during his entire Senate career.”
Coburn actually has sponsored successful bipartisan legislation, notably a 2006 bill with then-Sen. Barack Obama to establish a website to track federal spending.
He has also had to apologize previously to Reid for intemperate remarks.
Last year, Coburn said on a C-SPAN interview that Reid was “incompetent and incapable of carrying on the tradition of the Senate.”
Coburn later apologized on the Senate floor, saying he had used words that were “inappropriate.”
“I do not apologize for how I think the Senate is being run and the damage that I think is being done to the country, but as an individual, he has a very difficult time and I understand that and, to him, I ask his forgiveness,” Coburn said in July 2012.
Coburn has repeatedly expressed frustration with the lack of work on legislation in the Senate, and he has accused Reid of denying Republicans the chance for input. Democrats have responded that Senate Republicans repeatedly throw up procedural roadblocks to routine business.
Coburn, who has limited himself to two terms, has three years left in the Senate.