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Senator Harry Reid's unvarnished racially charged words

Guest Rob Jesmer

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Guest Rob Jesmer

Last week, Harry Reid acknowledged making a series of racially derogatory comments about then-Senator Barack Obama during his run for President in 2008.


True to form, his Democrat colleagues have rallied to his defense.


Oh, how times have changed.


In 2002, then-Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott made a racially controversial comment, and Democrats immediately howled for his resignation. Harry Reid himself called Lott's comments "repugnant," while Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) described them as "disturbing and hurtful." Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) announced: "I can tell you if a Democratic leader said such a thing, they would not be allowed to keep their position."


In short, Senator Harry Reid's unvarnished racially charged words, and his party's indifference to them, are shocking.


As Reid said himself in 2002, "You play how you practice. If you tell ethnic jokes in the backroom, it's that much easier to say ethnic things publicly. I've always practiced how I play." Tell Harry Reid his practice of racially derogatory comments isn't acceptable.

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Guest Cocoaguy

Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who is US Senate Majority leader, is under a lot of criticism over comments he made during the 2008 United States presidential election, toward US President Barack Obama. The highlighted comment made by Reid was calling Obama a "light-skinned" black man "with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one." The remarks were released in a book co-written by Time magazine reporter Mark Halperin, and New York magazine reporter John Heileman.


Reid has since apologized for "using such a poor choice of words." President Obama quickly accepted the apology. Reid has been a partner with the Obama Administration on issues such as health care reform. Democratic Party chairman Tim Kaine told Meet the Press "the comments were unfortunate and they were insensitive", but "I think the case is closed because President Obama has spoken directly with the leader [Reid] and accepted his apology. [...] We're moving on."


Members of the Republican Party have called on Reid to resign over his comments. Party chairperson Michael Steele told Fox News Sunday "There is this standard where the Democrats feel that they can say these things and they can apologize when it ... comes from the mouths of their own. But if it comes from anyone else, it's racism,". Having appeared alongside Kaine, where the Democrat Party chairman stated the case was closed, Steele argued that there was a double standard, on the basis of then-Senator Obama calling in 2002 calling for Trent Lott, at that time the majority leader, to be ousted for supporting the views of Strom Thurmond, who stood as a segregationist Presidential candidate in 1948.


The book Game Change published today, also says that New York Senator Chuck Schumer encouraged Barack Obama to run in early 2006, even though he later endorsed his former colleague Hillary Clinton. Other revelations included that John McCain's aides were concerned about Sarah Palin's failure to understand basic facts prior to her ABC News interviews with Charles Gibson, including why North Korea and South Korea are separate countries.


Co-authors Halpern and Heileman have a history of vocal criticism of media coverage of the 2008 Presidential election. In late 2008, Daily Kos reporter Jed Lewison drew attention to comments by Halpern, on-stage with Heilmen, asserting the reportage was, "extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage"; he characterised election coverage as, "the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war". Halpern's centrepiece example was an analysis of New York Times profiles on the prospective First Ladies; overlooking earlier NYT coverage that reported on Obama's Caucasian ancestors being slave owners.

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Guest The White House

Statement by The President


Harry Reid called me today and apologized for an unfortunate comment reported today. 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. As far as I am concerned, the book is closed. - President Barack Obama, January 09, 2010

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Guest QuestionAuthority

I'm confused here: calling the president (or anyone else)a "light-skinned black man" is wrong why???

Is there something wrong with being black?

Is there something wrong with being light-skinned?


I'm so light skinned I shock people when I'm out in the Sun ... so I have to ask again: SO WHAT???

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