New York, January 10 -- Seeking to tone down the controversy over his racial remarks against President Barack Obama, Harry Reid, the Senate's Majority Leader, apologized Saturday.
The Senator from Nevada had made racial remarks against Obama during the 2008 presidential elections.
According to a book ‘Game Change’, to be published soon by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, Reid had called Obama a "light-skinned" black American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”.
Apologizing for the racial remark, Reid stated that he regrets his “poor choice of words” and that he is sorry for hurting the sentiments of all the Americans, in particular the African Americans.
President accepts apology
Reid apologized over a telephone call to Obama.
Later on Saturday, the president said that he has accepted Reid’s apology. In a statement, Obama said that he has known Reid for many years now.
He added that the Senator is a passionate leader and that he has done remarkably well on “issues of social justice”. "As far as I am concerned, the book is closed."
This is not the only incident of racial remark against Obama. Earlier in 2007, then a Senator and now the Vice- President Joe Biden’s description of Obama had drawn scrutiny.
Passing a remark against presidential rivals, Biden referred to Obama as “the first mainstream African-American” who is expressive, clean, and nice looking.
Biden later apologized and Obama not only forgave him but also made him his running mate.
Political career in jeopardy
Though Obama has forgiven Reid, it is unlikely to quell the controversy. The senator is not being forced to quit leadership but his political career is surely in jeopardy.
According to survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research between Jan. 5-7, Reid received unfavorable rating for the upcoming elections.
Out of the 625 Nevada voters interviewed, 52 percent did not favor Reid, 33 percent had a favorable opinion and 15 percent were neutral.
In fact, it has been observed that Senator’s public approval rating is on a decline. Mason-Dixon survey in early December showed that 49 percent had unfavorable opinion of Reid compared to 38 percent favoring him.
Many Americans have taken to blogs and forums, criticizing the senator.
Taking offense for his racist view a person named John Sheridan commented on reviewjournal.com, “Time for Harry Reid to retire out to pasture. Navada and America deserves better than this bitter, angry man with no joy to share. I wish him well out of government.”
Another person commented on the same site, “I've voted for Reid twice but NEVER again. He's alienated longtime supporters; his arrogance on the healthcare issue is over the top. Most importantly, his racist views are extremely offensive; they demonstrate how he really thinks.”