A day after saying CNN reporter Dana Bash was “irresponsible and reckless” for asking him a question about funding cancer research during the government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sat down with Bash to explain his words.

“You know, I am not known for being real articulate,” Reid, D-Nev., said in a sitdown interview in his Senate office on Thursday with Bash. “But what I was trying to say is, we can be piecemealing all this stuff.”

Democrats have said they won’t respond to Republican offers to fund individual programs such as the National Parks Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Reid was raked over the coals by conservative commentators for his original comments, made in a press conference Wednesday with other Democrats. And one of the liberal hosts of CNN’s “Crossfire,” Van Jones, admitted, “It was a good question and a bad answer, I’ll give you that. I don’t think anyone is going to sit here and say he handled that well.”