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January 11th, 2010
08:52 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Sen. Reid Under Fire

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has found himself in political hot water over remarks he made about Barack Obama in 2008.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has found himself in political hot water over remarks he made about Barack Obama in 2008.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has apologized for his comments in 2008 of then candidate Barack Obama as a "light-skinned" African-American with no Negro dialect" and now he wants to move on.

The comment was published in the new book "Game Change," which went on sale today.

But several Republicans, including the chairman of the RNC Michael Steele, don't agree with Reid. They want him to step down.

"The thing about it that's interesting is that when Democrats get caught saying racist things you know, an apology is enough. If that had been Mitch McConnell (current Senate GOP Leader) saying that about an African-American candidate for President of the U.S., trust me, this Chairman and the DNC would be screaming for his head very much as they were with Trent Lott," Steele said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

Trent Lott was forced to step down as Senate Majority Leader in 2002 after saying the nation would have been better off if voters had elected Strom Thurmond President in 1948, who at the time supported segregation.

Do you think Reid should step down? Share your thoughts below.

Pres. Obama has come to Reid's defense.

"This is a good man who's always been on the right side of history. For him to have used some inartful language in trying to praise me, and for people to try to make hay out of that makes absolutely no sense. He apologized, recognizing that he didn't use appropriate language, but there was nothing mean-spirited in what he had to say and he's always been on the right side of the issues, " Pres. Obama told CNN's Roland Martin this afternoon.

Tonight we'll talk with the authors of "Game Change", Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. They offer insight on Reid's comments and reveal secrets from the 2008 campaign trail. Hear how Pres. Obama talked Hillary Clinton into taking the Secretary of State job, how former Pres. Bill Clinton tried to get Sen. Ted Kennedy's to endorse his wife's campaign and more.

On the terror front, CNN's Paula Newton has an exclusive report from Yemen. She talked with the anguished father of Anwar al-Awlaki, who says his son is an all-American boy and not the new Osama bin Laden. But we have new information tonight about just how important a player al-Awlaki is for al Qaeda in Yemen, including his ties to the Christmas bomb plot in the skies over Detroit.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Boomer in Mo

    Reid was right about what he said. He was was inarticulate, but right. I think what he meant was then-Sen. Obama could speak standard American English. Many people don't, won't or can't, just listen to some interviews of major sports figures and young entertainers. Everyone living in this country should be able to talk standard American English, when they can't it limits their lives. We had a white kid working for us a couple of weeks and let her go because half the time no one could understand what she said because she mumbled and used "street" language. Other times she sounded fine. Anyway, she's unemployed now, mostly because of her inability to regularly communicate in standard American English in the workplace.

    January 12, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  2. Ricardo

    Reid should difinetely resign or be fired. His comments were outrageous more so then what Trent Lott said about a friend that was celebrating his 100th birthday. True that the friend was a segrationist back in 1948 but he had made amends and served his country well.
    Many people back then were segrationist including Democratic Reps and Senators including one that is very old and holding on to his seat who was a KKK member back in the days.

    January 12, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  3. Michael

    Here's the problem that I see with Reid's statement:

    He uses the phrase "negro dialect" when talking about the electability of Barack Obama. He states that he doesn't have a "negro dialect" and that that would add to his electability.

    I take this as saying that if he had a "negro dialect" that this would somehow take away from his qualifications and that he would be less likely to be elected. The way that he sounds (due to his heritage) would turn people away from voting for him. Is he saying that blacks sound uneducated? OR untrusting? OR incapable of fulfilling the duties of the office? ALL because the person's heritage affects the sound of their voice. Harry reid brought up Barack's race and didn't need to. He could have stuck with praising him for his accomplishments and for his positve qualities. Not that the American public will vote for him because he doesn't sound black (and frankly that's the nature if what he said).

    January 12, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  4. jen

    I don't believe that Reid should step down because of his comment, but. . . I do believe he should step down. As a democrat it royally irritates me that the leader of the senate is not willing to work with the other side. We need leaders who will really work together with those that oppose the "right side" and get some bipartisan bills passed that will help majority of the people! That's my opinion.

    January 12, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  5. Tim Gibson

    Step down or not, I do not feel Reid will win the opportunity to remain in his seat.

    January 12, 2010 at 9:30 am |
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