The paperback version of Reid's memoir, "The Good Fight," is coming out May 5 with an epilogue called "The Obama Era." Reid said he was impressed when Obama, then a first-year senator from Illinois, delivered a speech about President George W. Bush's war policy.
Democrat Reid writes: "`That speech was phenomenal, Barack,' I told him. And I will never forget his response. Without the barest hint of braggadocio or conceit, and with what I would describe as deep humility, he said quietly: `I have a gift, Harry."'
A copy of the book's 15-page epilogue was provided to The Associated Press. Reid said in an interview he hesitated about citing Obama's comment because he knew it could be interpreted as bragging.
"To be honest, my wife, she said, `don't tell people that,"' Reid said. "She's afraid it could be taken the wrong way. But she's heard me tell lots of people that, and every time she goes `don't do that.' Now it's there for thousands of people to read."
Reid said in the book that he talked to Obama in 2006 about running for president, and Obama expressed doubts about his ability to win.
"I was resolved to stay neutral in the coming campaign, but I told him that in my view the stars could align for him. `If you want to be president, you can be president now,' I said. `I don't know, Harry,' he said. `I don't think so."'