Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid has apologized for racially outdated language he reportedly used to describe President Barack Obama.
The statements from Reid are included in a book scheduled for release Tuesday, "Game Change," an account of the 2008 campaign by journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. A preview of the book on the politics blog of The Atlantic magazine describes a conversation in which Reid discussed Obama’s speaking skills.
According to the preview, on page 37 of the book is a description of "private" remarks by Reid.
The preview states "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."
The New York Times reported on the book but didn’t include the controversial remark from Reid. The Times also reported: "But all sources were granted anonymity, and in most cases the authors provide no specific documentation for their account."
A statement Saturday morning, nine hours after the blog post, from Reid’s senate office acknowledges use of the language: “I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. 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.”