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reid + negro dialect = ‘please resign’

January 11, 2010

There was a moment in Sunday night’s “60 Minutes” piece on revelations from the 2008 presidential campaign in which Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s former top campaign strategist, was asked if the choice of Sarah Palin “was about winning an election, not necessarily about who’s gonna be best as vice president.”

“My job was to give political advice,” Schmidt responded. “We needed to do something bold to try to win the race.” (More from “60 Minutes”)

That exchange is worth remembering when considering the controversy that broke over the weekend involving Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who, it was revealed, privately stated that he believed Barack Obama was well suited to a presidential run because he is a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

Reid, an early Obama backer, immediately apologized “for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans for my improper comments,” but that didn’t stop Republicans from pouncing on the comments and calling for Reid’s resignation from the Senate leadership. They drew comparisons to Trent Lott’s 2002 comments that America would have been better off had then-segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond been elected president in 1948, which resulted in Lott being forced to leave the GOP leadership.

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