Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, today said Republicans’ calls for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to step down due to offensive comments he made about then-presidential-candidate Barack Obama are a distraction from real issues facing the nation.
“Game Change,” a new book about the 2008 campaign by Time magazine reporter Mark Halperin and New York magazine writer John Heileman, said Reid in private conservations said the country was ready for a black president — particularly one who’s “light-skinned” with no “Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Obama has accepted Reid’s apology.
Lee today said she also has spoken with Reid about it “and he apologized for his unfortunate remarks concerning the President and he understands the gravity of such remarks. There are too many issues like the economy, job creation and energy for these regrettable comments to distract us from the work that must be done on behalf of the American people.
“Over the years, I have had an opportunity to work with Majority Leader Reid. Senator Reid’s record provides a stark contrast to actions of Republicans to block legislation that would benefit poor and minority communities – most recently reflected in Republican opposition to the Health Bill now under consideration. I look forward to Senator Reid continuing to serve as Majority Leader to guide this important agenda through the Senate,” Lee continued.
“The Congressional Black Caucus believes that thoughtful engagement and civil discourse on race is needed, as our first ‘Dialogue on Race’ in November 2009 demonstrated. There is a deep unease about race which cannot be swept under the rug. I appreciate Senator Reid’s apology and look forward to our continuing work.”