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Black Democrats support Reid

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By Robert "Rob" Redding Jr.

Editor & Publisher

Jan. 11, 2010, 1 a.m. - Most Black Democratic leaders appear to be standing firmly behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who made racially charged comments about President Obama.

 Rep. Barbara Lee, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, called the remarks "unfortunate" but said now is not the time to abandon the leader.

"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," she said of the fellow Democrat.

Lee's comments come as Reid has also garnered the support of Rev. Al Sharpton, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Obama himself.

Still, GOP Chair Michael Steele says that he wants Reid to step down for his 2008 remarks. Reid described President Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign as a "light-skinned" Black "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

Ironically, Steele is asking for Reid's resignation as he himself yesterday had to apologize for using the phrase "Honest Injun" to describe the Republican Party.

Project 21, a conservative black group, also joined Steele in his request that Reid resign.  

Story continues below ↓


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Still, Lee stood by her Democratic counterpart.

“I have had an opportunity to speak with Senator Reid and he apologized for his unfortunate remarks concerning the president and he understands the gravity of such remarks," she said. "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. 

“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.”

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