Emanuel defends Reid while GOP keeps the squeeze on


White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel backed up his boss this morning in defending Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in the firestorm that ignited over the weekend when a new book reported remarks by the Nevadan about Barack Obama's skin color and dialect.

On MSNBC, Emanuel said Obama has "absolute confidence" in Reid. Here's the video.

"He knows Harry Reid, he trusts Harry Reid," Emanuel said. "Harry Reid has -- absolutely -- the confidence of the president and the rest of the Democratic caucus to do the job that he needs to do as Senate majority leader and as senator of Nevada."

Meanwhile, Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas kept up the GOP press against Reid.

Also on MSNBC, Cornyn, the chairman of the Republican National Senatorial Committee, said the episode "raises another question about Senator Reid's judgment," alongside "reckless spending and debt, the deals that were cut to gain votes for health care reform."

"Voters will have their say-so in November," Cornyn said. Here is a rough transcript, during which Cornyn also is asked to defend the crop of Republicans running against Reid.

According to the new book "Game Change," Reid, in what he thought was an off-the-record conversation, said at one point during the 2008 campaign he thought Obama could be elected president because he was "light-skinned" and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

Reid apologized to Obama on Saturday, who said he accepted the apology.