Reid backpedals over ‘Negro dialect’ remark about Obama
Mark Halperin and John Heilemann have started a game of media hot potato with a comment set to be published in their new book “Game Change”. Already, the U.S. Senate majority leader has gotten burned.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) on Saturday found himself on the defensive after the two reporters revealed that he once described then-candidate Obama as “light skinned” and lacking in “Negro dialect,” which Reid thought would give him a boost in the polls, they wrote.
“He 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,’ as he said privately,” Hlaperin and Heilemann reported. “Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama’s race would help him more than hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination.”
A remorseful Reid was quick to jump out in front of the significant gaffe, telling reporters, “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.”
He added: “I have worked hard to advance issues important to the African American community.”
“Reid’s apology comes on the same day that a new poll conducted by the Las Vegas Review Journal showed him facing an uphill fight for re-election in 2010,” Chris Cillizza noted over at Washington Post blog The Fix. “Reid trailed former state Republican party chairwoman Sue Lowden by a 50 percent to 40 percent margin and was behind businessman Danny Tarkanian (R) 49 percent to 41 percent.”
“Game Change” also has former lawmaker Sarah Palin sweating. Her spokesperson told CBS News program “60 Minutes” that the book’s description of her lack of preparation for the vice presidential debate is not true.
“Her descriptions [in “Going Rogue”] are accurate,” spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton claimed, according to Politico. “She was there. These reporters were not.”
“Game Change” will be out in hardcover on Jan. 11, 2010.