Reid Repents for ‘Negro’ Remarks

By MichaelJames

Jan 9, 2010 2:08pm

ABC News' Rachel Martin reports:

There’s a new book coming out Monday that’s already raising hackles in Washington and has even provoked an apology from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Here’s the Reid quote from “Game Change”, written by political journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, as reported by The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder, who has published highlights from the book:

"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. Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama's race would help him more than hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination.’”

Today, Reid responded to those remarks.

“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words," Reid said in a written statement. "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. Moreover, throughout my career, from efforts to integrate the Las Vegas strip and the gaming industry to opposing radical judges and promoting diversity in the Senate, I have worked hard to advance issues important to the African American community.”

African American leaders called the remarks careless.

"I think more than insensitive, the remarks are enlightening about the racial psychology in the country," the Rev. Al Sharpton told ABC News. 

Sen. Reid called upon Sharpton to apologize today.

He also called the president. In a statement by the White House, Obama said, "I accepted Harry's apology without question. … I know what's in his heart.  As far as I am concerned, the book is closed."

More on this tonight on "World News."

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