CNS interviewed Sen. Reid today, getting the quote on audio. And it would be a great, GOP-base-firer-upper if Reid wasn’t just quoting a conservative Republican senator from Mississippi.

Pulling out his wallet and removing a white piece of paper, Reid told the reporter: “All I have to say about that is this. I have it right here, and you can put it in your little recording devices.”

Then, reading aloud, and quoting Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) from an interview last Friday, Reid said: “The thought of him [McCain] being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper, and he worries me.”

Reid then placed the piece of paper back in his wallet and continued taking reporter’s questions.

Watch and observe. In the coming weeks as McCain locks this thing up, you’ll hear the same Democrats who love him today take the Reid route and start questioning McCain’s temper and his age, and therefore his basic fitness to lead. If the tea leaves keep steeping the way they are now and Obama ends up the Dem nominee, the race will be cast as old and busted versus fresh and new. It doesn’t matter much what the two actually say and do at that point. Obama can continue to say nothing but say it nicely and he’ll be set up for the win.