Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Saturday labeled John McCain's newest objection to ending the military's ban on open gay service a “trick.”

The Arizona senator and ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee said he and his colleagues would continue to oppose repeal of the 1993 law because the economy is sputtering.

“I will not agree to have this bill go forward, and neither will, I believe, 41 of my colleagues, either, because our economy is in the tank,” he said.

During two days' worth of senate hearings on a Pentagon report that endorsed repeal, McCain said he wasn't wholeheartedly opposed to repeal of the law, he simply wanted a delay.

Quick as a wink, Reid jumped on the remarks, likening McCain's actions to a Peanuts caricature.

“First, Sen. McCain said he would seriously consider repealing it if the military leadership thought we should, and [when] the military leadership said it should be repealed, he pulled away the football. Then Sen. McCain said he would need to see a study from the Pentagon. When the Pentagon produced the study saying repeal would have no negative effect at all, he pulled away the football again,” he said Saturday on the Senate floor.

“And his latest trick, he said yesterday that he opposed repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' a proposal that would be a great stride forward for both equality and military readiness … because of the economy,” Reid said. “I repeat, the senior senator from Arizona said he couldn't support repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' because of the economy.”

In an email to, McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan responded: “Perhaps someone should inform the majority leader the election is over.”