- The Washington Times - Monday, January 11, 2010

Former New York Mayor Ed Koch is leveling sharp criticism against fellow Democrats, including President Obama, who he says “sold out” Americans in trying to reform the U.S. health-care system, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for making a “dumb” comment about race.

“I’m disappointed with [the president], but I’m still supportive of him,” said the 85-year-old Mr. Koch, New York’s mayor from 1978 to 1989 and a former congressman.

In a prerecorded interview to air Tuesday, Mr. Koch told The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show that the first of Mr. Obama’s two major mistakes was to escalate the ground war in Afghanistan instead of fighting with such methods as missiles, drones and specials forces.

The second, he said, was to allow medical companies to pay $80 billion instead of roughly $1 trillion in a deal regarding volume discounts on prescription drugs.

“I call that an Obama sellout,” Mr. Koch said.

He said Mr. Reid’s comment about Mr. Obama’s being “light-skinned” — revealed over the weekend in a book about the 2008 elections — were “dumb” and “politically incorrect” but not malicious.

Though Mr. Koch frequently has supported Republicans — including George W. Bush for president in 2004 and Rudy Giuliani as New York mayor — he does not think Mr. Reid should resign from his Senate leadership post.

He also argued that some blacks value light skin to the exclusion of darker-skinned blacks, as portrayed by filmmaker and social critic Spike Lee.

Mr. Koch perhaps saved his sharpest criticism for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and his decision to bring self-proclaimed Sept. 11, 2001, mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to trial in Manhattan, near the site of those terrorist attacks.

“I think that’s the dumbest thing Eric Holder could have ever done,” he said.

“We didn’t give every soldier in the Confederate War who did something wrong a lawyer,” Mr. Koch said. “This is a war. Muslim terrorists want to kill every Christian, every Jew, every Hindu who won’t convert or pay tribute.”

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