WASHINGTON -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday made his first public media appearance since an exercise mishap left him with a severely injured eye and four broken ribs.
Reid had been working out with resistance bands in his new home earlier this month when one snapped, injuring his right eye and flinging him into a file cabinet, he said.
The Nevada Democrat said he expected to be back to full speed soon, and that he planned to run for re-election. But while he was certain about his electoral plans, he hedged on a question about whether he'd take the manufacturer of the exercise gear to court.
"Let's say if I were, I wouldn't be broadcasting that here," Reid said.
Asked later if he knew the maker of the product and whether he thought it was defective, Reid answered: "Well, we have it, and we'll find out."
He was adamant that the incident hadn't changed his plans for his political future. "This question was asked me before the break, and I answered it the same way I'm answering it now: I plan to run," Reid said.
Reid, who wore an eye patch during the appearance, said he has had to limit his reading and to lay off heavy lifting, but he's up to walking for about an hour at a time.
He expects to go in for surgery on Monday to repair fractures around his right eye and drain some blood from the injury, and says he's been told he should make a full recovery.
As far as pain, he confessed that his eye hurts and he takes a couple of Tylenol tablets every now and then to deal with it.
Reid, a former boxer, insisted the four cracked ribs were of little consequence. "They are so meaningless, it’s hard to believe. I broke four ribs, but that’s so minor," he said.
He did seem confused when asked whether he had suffered a concussion, something his office had mentioned in early reports.
"To my knowledge, I’m not getting any treatment for concussions, although I do have a better understanding of the football players and baseball players who have concussions," Reid said. "No one’s told me I had one, but perhaps I have."
The minority leader also weighed in on the controversy over allegations that the New England Patriots intentionally used under-inflated footballs in their playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts. Red criticized the NFL for letting it happen.
"I can’t believe the National Football League, with the billions of dollars they make, couldn’t at least determine how much air is in a football. I don’t see why it should be left up to the teams," said Reid, who's been at odds with the NFL lately because the league won't force the Washington, D.C., team to change its name to something that's not a racial slur.
Reid also answered his first questions about President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. He echoed other Democrats in warning that he would not be on board with a push for Obama's free-trade agenda or his request for authority to "fast-track" trade deals.
"I have always been suspect, over my entire career in Congress, of these trade agreements," Reid said. "I don’t support fast track. Why? Because I have not been shown that these trade agreements have helped the middle class."
"I’ll be happy to keep my eyes wide open," he continued, "and if something changes, I’ll change, but until it’s shown to me that trade agreements help the middle class, I’m not going to be jumping on the bandwagon."
Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.