Reaction to racial comments shows double standard, Republicans say

January 13, 2010  |  

WASHINGTON — Is a double standard going on in the Senate?

To some Republicans, there’s a clear double standard in the reactions to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s racially insensitive remarks and to those of Trent Lott, who was forced out as Senate majority leader in 2002 after saying that the country might have been better off if then-segregationist candidate Strom Thurmond had won the presidency in 1948.

Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona have called for Reid to be removed as Senate leader for having described presidential candidate Barack Obama as “light-skinned” and “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,” in “Game Change,” a new book about the 2008 campaign.

GOP chief: Reid remarks reflect a double standard

The Republican Party chairman on Sunday accused Democrats of a double standard by accepting Sen. Harry Reid’s apology for racial remarks about Barack Obama instead of demanding Reid’s ouster as majority leader.

In a private conversation reported in a new book, Reid described Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign as a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

Reid, D-Nev., apologized to Obama on Saturday, and the president issued a statement accepting the apology and saying the matter was closed.

Republicans cite Lott in calling for Reid to quit

A double standard? Republicans seeking Sen. Harry Reid’s resignation as majority leader over racial remarks he made about Barack Obama say yes – that Reid should be held to the same standard as former GOP Sen. Trent Lott, whose own racial gaffes cost him the Senate leadership in 2002.

Democrats say no, that Reid’s comments – while unfortunate – were nothing like Lott’s.

Reid apologized to Obama and a handful of black political leaders after a new book reported that he was favorably impressed by Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign and, in a private conversation, described the Illinois senator as a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

Reid says he won’t dwell on race-based controversy

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sought to slam the book shut Monday on a controversy stemming from remarks about President Barack Obama’s race and dialect, and a string of forgiving statements from prominent blacks made clear his leadership post is not in immediate jeopardy.

“I’ve apologized to the president,” he said, and to everyone “within the sound of my voice that I could have used a better choice of words.” He spoke in Apex, Nev., his first public comments since the issue flared over the weekend.

“I’ll continue to do my work for the African-American community … I’m not going to dwell on this any more,” he added.

Senate leader Reid apologizes to Obama for racial remarks

WASHINGTON _ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., apologized Saturday for newly revealed racial remarks he made about Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, comments that could hurt his re-election hopes.

Reid referred to Obama, then a fellow senator, in private talks as “light-skinned” and speaking “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,” according to a new book on the campaign by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.

“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words,” Reid said in a statement. “I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans, for my improper comments.”

By MARIA RECIO

McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Is a double standard going on in the Senate?

To some Republicans, there’s a clear double standard in the reactions to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s racially insensitive remarks and to those of Trent Lott, who was forced out as Senate majority leader in 2002 after saying that the country might have been better off if then-segregationist candidate Strom Thurmond had won the presidency in 1948.

Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona have called for Reid to be removed as Senate leader for having described presidential candidate Barack Obama as “light-skinned” and “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,” in “Game Change,” a new book about the 2008 campaign.

Lott declined to comment Tuesday, according to a spokesman at Breaux Lott Leadership Group in Washington.

Obama has accepted Reid’s apology.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Tuesday that there’d been a “stunning double standard as far as the treatment of Senator Lott, who also made unfortunate and inopportune remarks, and the treatment of Harry Reid by the liberal left.”

However, Sen. John Ensign, a Republican from Reid’s home state of Nevada, defended the Democratic leader, saying that everyone has made a comment that he or she regretted. “Democrats were really wrong in what they did to Trent Lott, and we shouldn’t do the same thing to Senator Reid,” Ensign said.

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