January 11, 2010

Democrats back Reid after 'Negro' remark

Posted: 02:39 PM ET

Note: Larry King Live will have the latest reaction to Sen. Harry Reid's remarks and the political fallout. That's tonight at 9ET/6PT!

Washington (CNN) - The Congressional Black Caucus said Sunday that it had accepted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's apology for a newly published remark he made about Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign and dismissed calls for the Nevada Democrat to step down.

Earlier in the day, the chairman of the Republican Party and a leading GOP senator had called on Reid to give up his post.

"Over the years, I have had an opportunity to work with Majority Leader Reid," Rep. Barbara Lee, chairwoman of the caucus, said in a statement.

"Senator Reid's record provides a stark contrast to actions of Republicans to block legislation that would benefit poor and minority communities."

Lee added that she looked forward to Reid serving as majority leader.

"There are too many issues like the economy, job creation and energy for these regrettable comments to distract us from the work that must be done on behalf of the American people," she said.

Colleagues on the other side of the aisle were not as forgiving.

The remarks were "embarrassing and racially insensitive," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, head of the GOP's Senate campaign arm, said in a statement to CNN.

Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele, on NBC's "Meet the Press," said, "Racism and racist conversations have no place today in America."

Steele was also on the defensive for a remark he made last week that members of both parties have called a racial slur.

Reid's office made clear he has no plans to step down.

"Senator Reid will stay in his position as majority leader and will run for re-election," his spokesman said.

"As the leader in the fight to pass the Voting Rights Act and legislation banning hate crimes, Senator Reid has a long record of addressing issues that are important to the African-American community. His Republican critics who are looking to politicize the issue can't say the same."

Reid is already embroiled in a tough re-election campaign in his home state to stay in the Senate. Only one-third of Nevada voters have a favorable opinion of him, while 52 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the four-term senator, according to a survey by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research for the Last Vegas Review-Journal released over the weekend.

The poll was conducted January 5-7, before news of Reid's comments.

The controversy surrounds remarks published in the book "Game Change," which goes on sale Monday.

It quotes Reid as saying privately in 2008 that Obama could succeed as a black candidate partly because of his "light-skinned" appearance and speaking patterns "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."


Filed under: Congress • Obama • Politics

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Mary G. from Michigan   January 11th, 2010 3:47 pm ET

You know in no way am I condoning his chioce of words.. but the big difference is Sen Reid was NOT adressing congress ... this was his personal beleifs and unfortunately many others thinking it but he said it outloud .

The comments were also stated in support of President Obama

Mary G. from Michigan   January 11th, 2010 3:52 pm ET

One more note .... NOW that somone has admitted how mso many otheres actually felt in this election .. Remeber the question that so many seemed to blow off " IS RACE REALLY AN ISSUE HERE'




Expat American   January 11th, 2010 4:16 pm ET

Who would use ‘slang’ or non professional terminology at a job interview or while giving a presentation or speech in the work place? Who doesn’t have a ‘work’ demeanor and ‘home’ demeanor – no matter what cultural background they come from?

Harry Reid should have not said what he said, as it offended many. Harry Reid used poor judgment in his choice of words. Had he chosen a neutral term to express his thoughts such as simply ‘slang’, perhaps such a ‘firestorm of controversy’ primarily from the Republican side (which is odd) would have not erupted. While failing in an attempt to describe his suport for the President’s professionalism and education, Reid made a large blunder and apologized for it; and the President accepted. Let’s move on.

What is important to remember is that although Reid’s practiced a poor choice of words he wasn’t outright ‘bettering’ himself than the President by throwing around accusations of being a ‘foreign born Muslim’ and Terrorist and other derogatory remarks. This was the Republican strategy during the campaign and continues to be so today – which is why it is so surprising to see the ‘uproar’ coming from the Republican side of the aisle over Reid’s comments. And to throw Michael ‘off da hook, your mama’ Steele up there reeks up political (albeit strange) posturing, because I don’t see too many Republican lawmakers ‘really that’ concerned about race relations; the Palin Christian Reich (or Right) certainly aren’t.

Expat American   January 11th, 2010 4:18 pm ET

Oh Dear....I forgot a 'p' in 'support'...

Raychil   January 11th, 2010 6:09 pm ET

This "Negro" thing does not sit well with me.If he had left that out it wouldn't bother me at all. Who uses that word in this day and time.

A. Smith, Oregon   January 11th, 2010 7:39 pm ET

This is such a non-issue, the American public openly wonders if the this is the best the Republican can do?

Of course thru all the smoke and propaganda which is willingly grabbed if it is tossed out to the hungry press, the real story is obscured behind the scenes.

What is the REAL STORY behind this?

Harry Reid is the most outspoken critic of the massive storage facility for America's Nuclear Waste repository in Nevada at Yucca flats. BEHIND the scenes is a major push by the Dept. of Energy and Big Oil to open and begin the transfer of millions of tons of radioactive waste into the Yucca flats facility. That isn't going to happen with Harry Reid in his present position, so they are determined to discredit him and remove him by any means necessary.

Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository background information:

Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Yucca Mountain Repository is the Congressionally directed deep geological repository storage facility for spent nuclear reactor fuel and other radioactive waste. Although the location has been highly contested by environmentalists and residents near the area, it was approved in 2002 by Congress.

In 2009 the Obama Administration stated that the site was no longer an option and proposed to eliminate all funding in the 2009 United States Federal Budget, prompting inquiries from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. On March 5, 2009, Energy Secretary Steven Chu told a Senate hearing "the Yucca Mountain site was no longer viewed as an option for storing reactor waste,"in contradiction to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, amended in 1987, which designated Yucca Mountain as the national repository for high level nuclear waste.

In July 2009 the United States House of Representatives voted 388 to 30 to not defund the Yucca Mountain repository in the fiscal year 2010 budget.

The Department of Energy was to begin accepting spent fuel at the Yucca Mountain Repository by January 31, 1998 but has yet to do so because of a series of delays due to legal challenges, concerns over how to transport nuclear waste to the facility, and political pressures resulting in underfunding of the construction. There is currently no official date set for opening the facility.

Where is the Yucca Mountain Repository?

The repository is located in a desert on federal land adjacent to the Nevada Test Site in Nye County, Nevada, about 80 mi (130 km) northwest of the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The repository lies within Yucca Mountain, a ridge line in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The ridge is composed of volcanic material ejected from a now extinct caldera-forming super volcano.

Near a ancient Super Volcano?!!

Bonnie B in NY   January 11th, 2010 8:01 pm ET

I think the media needs to back off this topic. All are making way to much of something very small. This race thing has gone all to far! I am tired of it. It actually made me turn off CNN today. I got tired of hearing about it. No one seems to complain when a white person is shot, robbed or killed by a (well I am not sure what to call a person of color other then a pale white or even with a tan). The more the media makes of it the more it is going to get worse. Again, CNN I have had it with listening to it! Enough Already!

Susan FL & IL   January 11th, 2010 8:55 pm ET

Come on everyone.....the Republican are trying to split the Democrats. They will grab at anything. Come on....Reid was just saying it like it is. Remember that Obama is our first president who has some African blood……But for all we know, we might have already had a or several Presidents who had African blood. We all have some African, American Indian, Hispanic, Northern European, Italian, Greek, Asian, etc. etc. blood......who cares......we, the people of the United States, are a beautiful melting-pot of all races and religions. We are so lucky to be so diverse.

I just wish that I had more African blood in me….so that I could be in the Sun more.

Jackie   January 11th, 2010 10:53 pm ET

Soledad – as facilitator and interviewer you need to be careful to keep your opinions to yourself. We don't watch LKL to hear what you think about the issues.

JAMES WILLIAMS   January 12th, 2010 1:38 am ET

Sen. Reid,
My people change thier name so offten till I don't know what to call them. I stand behind you also.

Cali MJ Fan   January 12th, 2010 1:51 pm ET

Reid comes from a different generation, despite his youthful appearance. He was not being derogiatory in his comments (and really, like Lacewell said, was being truthful).

I support Reid and do not think his position as Majority leader is in danger and I hope Nevada knows how lucky they are to have him in their corner– compared to *family values* John Ensign. Reid has served Nevada WELL.

Don Spiegel   January 12th, 2010 5:03 pm ET

The talking heads are debating Sarah Palin again, and the comments of Harry Reid. Ah, the power of words, the lure of appearance. I see a connection.

Harry Reid's problem is he was right. Very poorly stated, but correct. As a local black leader stated: "Obama is black enough for me, white enough for you." We describe how they appear before we listen to their words. I know who made their suits, but not who wrote the last book they read. Harry Reid made a poor choice of words, far different than Trent Lott, who showed a poor choice of values to assert.

Ask any Sou'thene'r if da noderne'hs givd em a faihr shake in language, or if dey ahr judgd by deir dialec. Even those of us who honestly try to be open judge voices and ascribe things to the voice without knowing enough.

We evaluate, describe, and follow our leaders far more by shallow standards than by deep ones. Sarah Palin is "hot". Elanore Roosevelt was not. Who gets more press?

Sometimes they confuse us. Palin is pretty smooth and affable reading a speech or using a teleprompter camera; but her views did not stand the test of examination. I think history will figure her out. George W. was amazingly inarticulate.(Yale, really???) We will be wondering what was his true nature for awhile, it seems. Can't mistake disagreement on point of view with ability.

So listen to your leaders. Ask better questions. Be better informed. Support real news organizations, not Cable info-entertainment/news schlock. Stop tolerating paid mouthpieces accessing your congressperson ahead of you.

In this regard, I agree w/ Ms. Palin: we must get involved. I trust when that happens the upside will be byebye Sarah. Bye-bye Sean, Michael, Rush, etc.

Read! Vote! Listen to the better of the LKL shows!(sorry, LKL is guilty of some lowbrow shows too!)

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