WASHINGTON – The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate apologized on Saturday for comments he made about Barack Obama's race during the 2008 presidential bid and are quoted in a yet-to-be-released book about the campaign.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada described in private then-Sen. Barack Obama as "light skinned" and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." Obama is the nation's first African-American president.
"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 released after the excerpts were first reported on the Web site of The Atlantic.
"I was a proud and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama during the campaign and have worked as hard as I can to advance President Obama's legislative agenda."
Reid remained neutral during the bitter Democratic primary that became a marathon contest between Obama and then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom Obama tapped as the United States' top diplomat after the election.
Reid's comments are included in the book, obtained Saturday by The Associated Press and set to be published on Monday. "Game Change" was written by Time Magazine's Mark Halperin and New York magazine's John Heilemann.
The book also says Reid urged Obama to run, perceiving the first-term senator's impatience.
"You're not going to go anyplace here," Reid told Obama of the Senate. "I know that you don't like it, doing what you're doing."
Reid apologizes for 'no Negro dialect' comment - Yahoo! News