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Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-01-10

US Senate majority leader Harry Reid has apologised on Saturday for referring to Barack Obama as "light-skinned" and with "no Negro dialect" during the 2008 presidential campaign.

AFP - Top US senator Harry Reid apologized Saturday for racially loaded comments about President Barack Obama's appeal to voters during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Reid, the Senate's Democratic majority leader, was quoted as saying Obama was popular with voters because he is "light skinned" and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

The comments, reported in a new book about the 2008 White House race, prompted the Nevada Democrat to issue a statement saying he was sorry, and pointing to his work with African-Americans.

"I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans for my improper comments," Reid said in a statement.

"Throughout my career... I have worked hard to advance issues important to the African American community."

Obama later issued a statement accepting Reid's apology "without question."

"Harry Reid called me today and apologized for an unfortunate comment reported today," the president said.

"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."

Senate leader Reid plays a key role in rallying lawmakers behind Obama's legislative agenda, from passing a controversial economic stimulus package to healthcare reform.


Date created : 2010-01-10

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