Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who drew fire over the weekend for race-tinged comments he made about President Barack Obama, is holding an "African Americans for Harry Reid" fundraiser in Las Vegas on Thursday.


The event, scheduled before the publication of Reid's remarks, is eerily well timed, though Reid staffers say it had been planned long in advance.

Over the weekend, comments Reid made about Obama were published in a new book, "Game Changer." Reid said he thought Obama had a good chance at the presidency because he was "light skinned" and had "no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

The Nevada senator subsequently apologized, but not without heavy fire from Republicans. GOP leaders noted that Reid had been critical of a seemingly racist remark by former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MO) at a birthday party for onetime segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC).

Reid's African American fundraiser has its own Facebook page, though the campaign characterized it in comments to The Hill as a "community group" and "not an official campaign entity."

At press time, the group's Facebook fans include "Mediumskinned Negro", "Lightskinned Negro" and some apparent conservatives, including one who is part of a campaign against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Another "fan", a conservative blogger, left a satirical, photoshopped picture depicting Obama behind the bar at "the Democratic Club." Most of the Facebook fans appear to be white, according to their photographs.

According to a conservative blog, earlier Tuesday the group counted "5 fans...4 are white."

One thing's for certain, the Reid controversy has allowed conservative bloggers to — sort of safely — make jokes using the word "Negro" as a punchline and resort to blackface.

Democratic TV pundit Donna Brazile is scheduled to headline Reid's event, telling a paper it's "still on, and I'm still on track to go."

However, if the event turns out to look anything like the Facebook page, Reid's opponents may capitalize on it, since pictures and videos can be more damning than words. The Hill notes, "Reid's campaign would not speculate on how many guests they expect, or how many had been invited."