The Washington Times - January 9, 2010, 09:07PM

The new book Game Change has lived up to its name already and authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann dish out some of the more juicier gossip on the 2008 campaign trail with then candidate and Senator Barack Obama. One particular story that is getting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in hot water today is where he is quoted as privately saying a racially charged comment about Mr. Obama.:

“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,’ ” Halperin and Heilemann say.


Already facing tough re-election odds at home, Mr. Reid immediately reached out to the president and apologized.  “I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words”, he said. President Obama forgave the Nevada Senator by Saturday afternoon.:

“Harry Reid called me today and apologized for an unfortunate comment reported today,” Obama said in a statement.

“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.”

Mr. Obama was not so forgiving of former Mississippi GOP Senator Trent Lott. Mr. Lott found himself in trouble after praising fellow Republican Senator Strom Thurmond (once a segregationist) at the late South Carolinian’s 100th birthday.:

“I want to say this about my state. When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years either.” 

Mr. Obama’s Reaction? (h/t John McCormack-Weekly Standard):

“It seems to be that we can forgive a 100-year-old senator for some of the indiscretion of his youth, but, what is more difficult to forgive is the current president of the U.S. Senate (Lott) suggesting we had been better off if we had followed a segregationist path in this country after all of the battles and fights for civil rights and all the work that we still have to do,” said Obama.

He said: “The Republican Party itself has to drive out Trent Lott. If they have to stand for something, they have to stand up and say this is not the person we want representing our party.”

A number of Democrats felt an apology was not enough. Check out some of the Democratic leaders below and their responses to the 2002 Trent Lott’s comments. A National Public Radio segment includes former Vice President Al Gore demanding a censure of the Mississippi Senator. 

Former VP Al Gore: “It is not a small thing for one of the half-dozen most prominent political leaders in America to say that our problems are caused by integration and that we should have had a segregationist candidate. That is divisive, and it is divisive along racial lines. Sen. Lott should apologize; failing that, the Senate should seriously entertain a motion of censure for his having made such a racist statement.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D - CA): “He can apologize all he wants. It doesn’t remove the sentiment that escaped his mouth that day.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D - MD): I have not seen the apology, but I can tell you I’m very concerned and very upset that anybody that would issue such a statement would be in the leadership of this nation or the Senate. And so we’re still trying to resolve exactly what action we will take, but guarantee, action will be taken. 

Rep. Maxine Waters (D - CA) : “I consider this as a Democratic Party issue, and the party should take into consideration what message this and other kinds of statements are sending to the African American community.”

Rep. Diane Watson (D - CA): “I’m very, very troubled at the attitude expressed in his remarks, considering that he is fourth in line for the presidency. I think he needs to step down and I’m going to do all I can to see that that occurs.”