Senate Democratic leader sorry for ‘Negro dialect’ remark
From Political Editor Mark Preston
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apologized Saturday
for making disparaging remarks about Barack Obama during the presidential
Journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann reported the remarks in
their new book “Game Change,” which is scheduled to be at bookstores Tuesday.
The authors quote Reid as saying privately that Obama, as a black
candidate, could be successful thanks in part to his “light-skinned” appearance
and speaking patterns “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”
“He (Reid) was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and 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,’ ” Halperin and Heilemann say.
“Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama’s race would help him more than
hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination,” they write.”
In a statement to CNN, Reid said, “I deeply regret using such a poor
choice of words.”
“I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially
African Americans for my improper comments.
“I was a proud and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama during the
campaign and have worked as hard as I can to advance President Obama’s
legislative agenda,” the senator from Nevada said.
Reid also pointed to his efforts to integrate the Las Vegas strip and the
gaming industry, among other legislation favored by African-American voters.
“I have worked hard to advance issues important to the African American
Reid, who waited to formally endorse Obama until after the tough
presidential primary battle ended in 2008, is facing an uphill re-election
fight this year in his home state.
In early 2007, the Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden was caught in a scandal for saying then Presidential candidate Barack Obama was “articulate” and “clean.” Biden explained his comments to then Senator Obama. The rest is history.