Sen. Reid Apologizes to Obama for 2008 ‘Negro’ Remarks: What was he Thinking?

January 10, 2010

(ChattahBox)—What was he thinking? Tantalizing details have been carefully leaked in the past few days from the book due out Monday, “Game Change,” by Time’s Mark Halperin and New York
magazine’s John Heilemann, offering readers a behind the scenes look at the 2008 presidential election. We have already learned of the reason for Sarah Palin’s request during the vice presidential debate, “Hey can I call you Joe?” And details about Obama’s overtures to former opponent Hillary Clinton, to secure her as Secretary of State have been revealed. Now, on Saturday another revelation from the book has emerged. And it doesn’t put Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV in a positive light. Apparently, in 2008 Reid make racially insensitive remarks about then, presidential-candidate Barack Obama, referring to him as “light-skinned” and as having “no Negro dialect.” Oh, boy.

Reid made his controversial remarks in a private conversation to reporters. He “believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama — a ‘light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,'” said Reid.

Since his remarks made to reporters two-years ago, while assessing Obama’s chances in his bid for president, Reid has embarked on an apology tour. He telephoned President Obama on Saturday to apologize. And Obama accepted his apology.

“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words,” Reid said in a statement. “I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans, for my improper comments.”

Obama said in a statement that Reid called him about the matter on Saturday afternoon. “I accepted Harry’s apology without question because I’ve known him for years, I’ve seen the passionate leadership he’s shown on issues of social justice and I know what’s in his heart,” Obama said. “As far as I am concerned, the book is closed.”

Reid has also reached out to civil rights leaders and African American congressmen to apologize. These remarks come at a bad time for Reid, as his poll numbers in his home state of Nevada have been tanking. And his comments draw attention to the issue of race in this country. At a time when Americans have elected our first black president, Obama’s election has also set off a new wave of racial animus, which the country has witnessed from various anti-Obama tea party protests.

Republicans jumped on Reid’s remarks. The National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director Brian Walsh said, “For those who hope to one day live in a color-blind nation, it appears Harry Reid is more than a few steps behind them.”

Although Reid’s comments were made in the context of praising Obama, they were still racially insensitive and inappropriate.

Sen. Harry Reid what were you thinking?



3 Responses to “Sen. Reid Apologizes to Obama for 2008 ‘Negro’ Remarks: What was he Thinking?”

  1. RonniNY on January 10th, 2010 11:32 am

    I think Sen. Reid’s comments were entirely correct. It’s an unpleasant reality perhaps but in some sectors Pres. Obama’s lighter skin worked in his favor. Saying it out loud may hit a nerve and it’s uncomfortable but I don’t think there’s anything incorrect about the statement. I would venture to say that even Obama himself would agree.

    In time this will change and skin color won’t make a difference but at this point in time, it still does and sometimes , a lighter tone and sounding a bit “white” is an advantage. There’s nothing racist in the remark. It’s just the way things are in our slowly evolving country. Change is underway but we’re just not all the way there yet.

  2. Sen Reid, The Word Negro and Racial Politics | ChattahBox News Blog on January 11th, 2010 10:36 pm

    […] racial segregation was “innocuous,” compared to Reid’s use of the antiquated term Negro, in praising Obama. Reid made the error of using an old-timey and ridiculous term while talking about a black man, but […]

  3. trisha_369 on January 14th, 2010 4:00 am

    Harry Reid maded a racist comment and my question is why did he want to make this comment now because we have a black president? I didn’t hear him make the comment on the black lady that worked for Bush and ALL the black congress and democratic nor did I hear him make any statement of Bush having the mind set of the KKK and leadership of them either. Just another a$$hole who speak out in a disrespectful way toward the president and getting away with it. I have never heard in mylife time of such action on people in Congress nor Democratic parties acting out in such a DISRESPECTFUL way…they need to fire his a$$.

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