To cleanse the palate, let’s play a game of “guess that senator.” I’ll sweeten the pot for you: The guy who said it is “one of her favorite older senators,” which suggests he’s a Democrat.

There are really only two candidates, right?

“Good thing you’re working out, because you wouldn’t want to get porky!” one of her older male colleagues said. Her response: “Thanks, a—hole,” she said in an excerpt from her book.

An unidentified southern congressman once held the former upstate House member’s arm while walking her down the chamber’s center aisle. “You know, Kirsten, you’re even pretty when you’re fat,” he told her…

Gillibrand has struggled with her weight, going between a Size 4 and Size 16 after giving birth…

After she dropped 50 pounds and got elected to the Senate, one of her favorite older senators walked up behind her, squeezed her waist, and intoned: “Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby.”

I know what you’re thinking. It has to be Diamond Joe, right? It’s impossible to read those words and not hear his voice. But if the timeline is correct here, it can’t be him: Gillibrand didn’t join the Senate until late January 2009, a few weeks after Biden left to become vice president. He was an ex-senator by then. She didn’t get “elected to the Senate” until late 2010, which would push the timeline forward even further, when Biden had already been gone from the chamber for more than a year and a half. For the same reason, it can’t be Ted Kennedy. He passed away in 2009, after Gillibrand was appointed to her seat but long before she won her special election. And Kennedy was frail and only appeared in the Senate sporadically in 2009, after she arrived.

What we’re looking for is a Democrat who’s older, prone to saying moronic, offensive things, and was himself a member of the Senate in good standing in late 2010 or after. Is there anyone out there who fits that description? I can think of someone:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had an unusual form of praise for New York’s junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, this morning at the fundraiser Mayor Bloomberg hosted for him at his townhouse – referring to her as “the hottest member” as she sat just a few feet away, according to three sources.

The comment prompted Gillibrand to turn red, according to the sources, and created a bit of stir among the small crowd there.

“It was pretty shocking when he said it,” said one source familiar with the remark and the reaction.

He said that in September 2010, shortly before her election. Hmmmm. John McCormack points to another classic Reid anecdote:

Once, while waiting for President Obama outside the Oval Office, Reid greeted a tall female West Wing staffer by telling her she was his “favorite big woman,” while Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett was his “favorite small woman.” Reid quickly “clarified,” telling her he only meant that she was his favorite big woman “at the White House.”

That’s our Harry. And she did once call him “an extraordinary man,” which arguably qualifies him as “one of her favorite older senators.” Granted, it’s unfair to speculate based on evidence this thin, but then Reid’s never had a problem with speculation based on thin evidence himself. And yet … I don’t know. If I’m being honest, I’d have to admit that it doesn’t sound like him. Putting your hands on a woman’s waist and telling her how you like your “girls” smacks of lechery; it’s a weird type of come-on. Maybe that’s a side of Reid the public doesn’t get to see, but it doesn’t fit with the image we have him. He’s the consummate nasty old man, a guy prone to saying offensive things because he either doesn’t care enough to be considerate to people or actively enjoys smearing his enemies. He seems vaguely detached from the people around him, not on the make. Even the “hottest member” comment about Gillibrand feels like a compliment he reached for because he felt like he needed to layer on praise and was just too dumb and tone deaf to see how it was demeaning. I don’t know. I’m not prepared to vote guilty here.

Exit question: Sean Davis floats a dark-horse candidate. Could he be right? A man who once allegedly played “waitress sandwich” with the Lion of the Senate is a strong candidate for an outre remark. And he did serve with Gillibrand after she won her special election, if only for a few months.