Reid Apologizes for ‘Negro Dialect’ Comment

Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s new book “Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime,” is making plenty of waves in Washington; today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apologized for remarks cited in the book, describing then-candidate Barack Obama as “light-skinned … with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.

Journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann reported the remarks in their new book “Game Change,” which was purchased by CNN Saturday at a Washington-area bookstore. The book is slated for official release next Tuesday.

“He (Reid) 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,” they write.

“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words,” Reid said in a statement to CNN.

In his Saturday statement, Reid said he apologized “for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans for my improper comments. …

In a statement released by the White House, the president accepted Reid’s apology: “Harry Reid called me today and apologized for an unfortunate comment reported today. I accepted Harry’s apology without question because I’ve known him for years, I’ve seen the passionate leadership he’s shown on issues of social justice and I know what’s in his heart. As far as I am concerned, the book is closed.”

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