REID SEES LIBERAL PRESSURE AS ‘NOT HELPFUL’…. Harry Reid covered quite a bit of ground at a breakfast briefing this morning hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, but of particular interest were his comments about progressive ad campaigns from groups like and Americans United for Change.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Friday that liberal groups targeting moderate Democrats with ads should back off, saying pressure from the left wing of his party won’t be helpful to enacting legislation.

“I think it’s very unwise and not helpful,” Reid said Friday morning. “These groups should leave them alone. It’s not helpful to me. It’s not helpful to the Democratic Caucus.”

Reid, who said he hadn’t seen or heard the ads, added that “most of [the groups] run very few ads — they only to do it to get a little press on it.”

Now, in fairness, I haven’t seen a complete transcript of Reid’s remarks, so maybe he added some details and context to this. But given the report, I still have no idea why Reid would find progressive pressure to be “very unwise and not helpful.”

Take the budget fight, for example. The White House presented Congress with a progressive and ambitious plan. Reid likes the plan, as do MoveOn and Americans United for Change. Some members of Reid’s caucus want to water down the budget and make it worse, so MoveOn and Americans United for Change are encouraging them not to.

What’s unhelpful about that?

Reid added, “Legislation is the art of compromise. Consensus-building.” Fair enough. But legislating is also about responding to public pressure. Democratic lawmakers are already facing plenty of pressure — some from within the caucus itself — to move away from the popular and progressive agenda proposed by the administration. MoveOn and Americans United for Change are helping to add some balance to the equation.

Reid should be sending them “thank you” notes.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.